More than $300,000 in tax breaks have been recaptured from a Lake Success business that never kept its job promises to Nassau County in return for the tax aid, officials said.
Display Technologies LLC pledged to add nine jobs to a workforce of 61 people by moving its headquarters from College Point, Queens, to the former Sperry defense factory at 1111 Marcus Ave. in 2012, according to the county's Industrial Development Agency.
The hiring hasn’t occurred, according to records filed with an IDA regulator, the state Authorities Budget Office, or ABO. The company’s payroll went from 62 people in 2012 to 44 in 2018, the most recent available data.
Peter L. Curry, a real estate attorney who represented Display, said the company didn’t meet its obligations because it was acquired two years after the IDA granted the tax breaks. "It was another corporate acquisition and restructuring story," he said, referring to Display being purchased by Marmon Holdings Inc. in 2014.
A spokesman for Chicago-based Marmon hasn’t responded for more than three months to multiple voicemail messages and email requesting comment. Display executives didn’t respond to a message left by Newsday with an employee on a recent visit to the company’s headquarters.
Display, founded in 1960, sells racks that hold beverages and food in display cases, which are often refrigerated.
The company "is tied to sales of Coke and Pepsi," said one person familiar with its operations who requested anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak to journalists. "One year will be a blowout and the next two [years] will be down."
Display’s move to Nassau was among several by longtime New York City firms that were touted by the IDA under then-Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano.
Display "was seriously thinking about leaving [the metropolitan area] …They have facilities in other parts of the United States," then-IDA executive director Joseph J. Kearney said in 2012. "We were able to persuade them not to move out of New York State."
In 2018, after years of noncompliance, the IDA and Display agreed to part company — but only this year did they come to terms on the amount of tax breaks to be repaid: $309,354 in property and sales taxes. An IDA official said Wednesday the agency received the recaptured funds and distributed them to the affected school district, town and other taxing jurisdictions.
Display was awarded tax breaks lasting 10 years in return for job creation and $1.1 million in improvements to the Lake Success office. The tax deal was among the first under a program to provide IDA aid to small businesses in Nassau.
IDAs across New York State require recipients of tax breaks and other assistance to submit annual reports on employment, which then are sent to ABO. Every year, a handful of recipients have their benefits recaptured by Long Island’s eight IDAs.
Nassau IDA chairman Richard Kessel, who wasn’t at the agency in 2012, said the coronavirus-induced recession will make it difficult for some businesses to keep their employment promises this year. "Let us know your situation now so we can work with you," he said. "Don’t wait until we contact you for the annual compliance review."