A state Supreme Court judge has granted a request by LIPA to temporarily prevent Suffolk County and its comptroller from seizing or selling authority properties that are the subject of an ongoing tax dispute.
In a ruling Wednesday, state Supreme Court Justice Thomas F. Whelan granted the Long Island Power Authority’s request for a temporary restraining order to prevent action on the properties by the county, pending a Dec. 14 hearing.
LIPA filed a request for declaratory judgment last Monday. In granting the request, Whelan found that LIPA faced “immediate and irreparable harm” if Suffolk County and its comptroller, John Kennedy, moved forward with steps to sell tax liens placed on more than 1,600 LIPA properties due to alleged under payment of taxes. LIPA denies Suffolk’s claim of underpaid taxes.
LIPA has asked the court the declare the tax liens “illegal and void,” and requested a permanent injunction preventing Suffolk from taking deeds to any LIPA properties or selling them.
The dispute stems from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s 2013 LIPA Reform Act, which placed a 2 percent cap on tax increases for LIPA properties. Some towns have taken issue with the cap, and assessed taxes above the 2 percent. LIPA, citing the state law, has declined to pay assessments above that amount. A similar dispute in Nassau County was settled last year.