OWS park's owners cheat on taxes

AIDS protesters sit down in the street after marching up Broadway from Zuccotti Park on World AIDS Day on December 1, 2011 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)
Businesses that operate in the Big Apple are expected to pay a percent of their income on taxes that go to funding public projects in New York City. For the one percent, however, those pennies on the dollar are apparently too hard to part with.

The result of an investigation by the New York Daily News over the weekend revealed that Brookfield Properties, the business that owns Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan and has forced the City into paying preposterous overtime fees for the NYPD cops that patrol their property, owes $139,000 in back business taxes.

That’s right — not only does Brookfield attempt to stomp on the 99 percent by barring them from protesting overnight in their downtown park, but the big-wigs that sit on the board have failed to pay tens of thousands of dollars towards the city for services that they have no doubt benefited from. Since the Occupy Wall Street movement began in September, Zuccotti has been the headquarters of the NYC Occupy encampment and unofficial headquarters of the now international protest movement — and has been continuously patrolled by the NYPD on the taxpayers’ dime.

That’s obviously ironic,” City Councilman Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn) tells the newspaper. “Occupy Wall Street has been talking about economic disparity . . . and here’s Brookfield Properties, which has worked with the mayor to keep the messengers out, not paying their share.”

Williams was arrested in November along with other demonstrators of the OWS movement when the NYPD tried clearing the park of protesters. New York Police Department officers might have thought otherwise, however, had they known how much Brookfield was behind in their taxes — for $139,000, the real estate owners could have afforded to pay the annual salary for a NYPD cop four times over.

Where does all the money go then? Author and activist Michael Moore has dug up that Brookfield spent $109,000 on Diana L Taylor in 2009 to cover her cost of sitting on their board for a total of nine meetings over the year. Taylor, of course, is also the girlfriend of NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, one of the biggest opponents of OWS.

According to the Post, Brookfield is adamant that their debt is an accounting error on part of the City, and spokeswoman Melissa Coley says that they are in discussion with the Department of Finance and claims that the mistake “will be resolved very shortly with Brookfield owing no additional funds.”

Not ending soon, however, appears to be the Occupy movement. Since springing up in Zuccotti Park, protests have spread across the world and continue to grow, despite law enforcement crackdowns, brutal arrests and bizarre legislation barring protesters from overnight camping at venues such as Brookfield’s own downtown lot.