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Tax breaks for Uniondale company revoked after job cuts

RXR Plaza in Uniondale.

RXR Plaza in Uniondale. Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

The Hempstead Industrial Development Agency revoked tax breaks for a Uniondale software company and will seek to recover the tax money after IDA officials said the company was sold and 170 jobs cut.

Uniondale-based OpenLink Financial LLC was given a 10-year PILOT, or payment in lieu of taxes, in 2014 to assist in a $22.4 million renovation of their offices at RXR Plaza in Uniondale, located across from the NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum.

The IDA granted tax breaks in exchange for the company adding five jobs, up to 390 employees from 385, in the second year, but instead cut jobs last year to 220 employees.

OpenLink officials did not return calls seeking comment.

Hempstead IDA Executive Director Fred Parola said the company’s 89,000-square-foot office space, covering four floors at RXR Plaza will be added back to the county and school tax rolls. The IDA will now seek a clawback of tax incentives already granted to OpenLink during the first five years of the deal.

The IDA board voted unanimously Feb. 28 to rescind the tax breaks, citing the job loss and OpenLink’s failure to notify the board of its acquisition by Dublin-based Ion Group Ltd from New York-based Hellman and Friedman.

IDA officials did not have an estimated figure of how much OpenLink would have saved over the 10-year deal or how much they would attempt to recover for taxes owed.

The State Authorities Budget Office reported that OpenLink saved $485,940 during the first three years of the deal, according to the most recent records available. The company listed 393 full-time employees in 2017.

Hempstead IDA officials have rescinded tax breaks before, but the move is rare, Parola said. He said the company was in compliance for much of the deal, but they were not permitted to transfer tax breaks to another company if they are sold.

“To curtail benefits is an extreme act, and we don’t do that unless there’s a serious violation. This was a total failure to comply, in the opinion of the board,” Parola said. “You can’t transfer the assets to another entity without board approval. The loss of jobs was a dramatic number. In this case, the board felt it was pretty egregious and we had to act.”

With James T. Madore

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