Pittsburgh, PA—(ENEWSPF)—December 19, 2011. Occupy Pittsburgh is holding a public demonstration in front of the U.S. Steel Tower, 6th and Grant Street, at noon on Wednesday, December 21, 2011, to protest the bilking of millions of dollars from state and local governments and Pittsburgh schools.
The U.S. Steel Tower was sold early in 2011. The group led by New York real estate investor Mark Karasick, who purchased the building for a quarter billion dollars, is using a loophole to try to cheat tax payers out of $10 million in realty transfer taxes. Half ($5 million) would go to the City of Pittsburgh, a quarter ($2.5 million) to the state, and a quarter ($2.5 million) to Pittsburgh schools. Occupy Pittsburgh, along with local teachers, unions, students, and community leaders, demand that Mr. Karasick’s real estate group stop being a “Scrooge” and pay the transfer taxes. Pittsburgh faces a crumbling infrastructure and crushing school closings. The city needs to collect its dues for local improvements and to support our schools.
The loophole, referred to as an “89-11 transaction,” allows the Karasick Group to purchase less than 90% of the property upfront, purchase the remainder in three years – and cheat the citizens of $10 million dollars in taxes. The 89-11 rule was put into place to deal with honest buyers, who might purchase only a portion of the holdings of a company or business; therefore wouldn’t be the sole owner – and never have the deed transferred to their name. In the case of U.S. Steal Tower, however, this is just robbery of revenue away from our communities, and stealing from our children’s education.
Join us downtown on December 21 from noon-1 pm outside the U.S. Steal Tower for an informative and entertaining demonstration of this issue and how we can work to get the money ‘stolen’ by this Grinch of a real estate firm back to deserving schoolchildren, teachers, workers, and local communities who desperately need it. Bring a lunch and learn how deals like these steal from our communities and schools – and how we can fight back.