ALBANY’S LATEST TAX BREAKS FOR BILLIONAIRES
Hedge Fund Managers and their Yachts and Planes and Helicopters; the State Budget and Cuomo and the Senate GOP; and the new multimillion dollar tax breaks for billionaires on their luxury toys
This year’s New York state budget includes new sales tax exemptions for luxury yachts and private aircraft, including private jets and helicopters.[i]
It’s a prime example of the power and influence of billionaires, hedge fund managers and their lobbyists, as well as the attention of the Albany political class to the care and feeding of their powerful patrons.
It’s not surprising, coming from a governor and a Legislature that gave absurd tax breaks to the billionaire buyers of the most expensive condominiums in Manhattan[ii] — but it is outrageous.
Also not surprisingly, the hedge fund managers that have bankrolled Cuomo and the State Senate Republican majority stand to benefit the most from Cuomo’s 1% tax breaks.
A quick overnight review of records and press accounts shows that seven billionaire donors to Cuomo, Senate Republicans and supportive PACs and Super PACs are reported to be big buyers of private jets and luxury yachts – and that several have recently sold or appear to be selling their yachts, and could avail themselves of the yacht sales tax break on their next big purchase. read more »
Just seven top hedge-fund-billionaire contributors with yachts, planes and helicopters gave over five million dollars in campaign cash to support Cuomo and the Senate GOP in recent years. Between them, these men have owned or controlled in recent years:
- At least eight private planes, including a Boeing 767 and several Gulfstream jets;
- At least one helicopter;
- At least five yachts, including one worth $37 million and another worth $60 million.
BENEFITS FOR POLITICIANS: FREE RIDES ON PRIVATE JETS
Big contributors also gave over a quarter million dollars in reported campaign contributions to Cuomo and the Senate GOP in the form of at least 27 free rides on private jets and helicopters (or other “transportation”) in just the 2014 electoral cycle – including 13 reported donations to Cuomo and 34 to the Senate Republicans.
REPUBLICAN STATE COMMITTEE: $89,428.00
CUOMO-HOCHUL 2014: $166,115.77
While some of the free-ride donor reports include corporate shells and perhaps some pilots of planes rather than their owners, identifiable donors include billionaire real estate magnate Aby Rosen, art maven and billionaire industrialist Peter Brant of Greenwich, CT, billionaire Jeremy Jacobs of Buffalo, private equity investor Camillo Santomero and Cuomo crony and financier Andrew Farkas – who may benefit spectacularly from the tax break as an owner of marinas and controller of the North Cove yacht park in Manhattan’s Financial District.
HedgeClippers calls for an immediate repeal of the new special tax breaks for luxury yachts with a purchase price over $230,000 and the new tax breaks for purchases of private aircraft, including private jets and helicopters.
PAUL TUDOR JONES
- $1,515,000 in campaign cash to support Cuomo and Senate GOP
- Three private planes, a helicopter and a yacht
Contributions to New Yorkers for a Balanced Albany: $500,000
Contributions to Andrew Cuomo: $105,000
Contributions to Senate Republican Campaign Committee accounts: $510,000
Contributions to other PACs supporting Senate GOP: $400,000
Paul Tudor Jones doesn’t just own one airplane, he owns three: a Bombardier global express jet, a Viking Air prop plane, and a French corporate jet– plus a helicopter. On top of that, Jones docks a 61-foot yacht at his house in the Florida Keys.
- $1,405,867 in campaign cash to support Cuomo and Senate GOP
- $65 million private jet, $60 million yacht
Contributions to New Yorkers for a Balanced Albany: $1,025,000
Contributions to other PACs supporting Senate GOP: $289,000
Contributions to Cuomo: $91,867
Dan Loeb appears to be shopping his megayacht Samadhi (named for the final step in Ashtanga Yoga’s eight-fold path towards enlightenment) to prospective buyers. The yacht appears to have been exhibited at the 2014 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, where it had a listed asking price of $59,950,000.[iii]
Loeb also owns a brand new 2013 Gulfstream G650 GVI, which has a sticker price estimated at $65.4 million.
- $325,000 in campaign cash to support Cuomo and Senate GOP
- Sold his $37.5 million yacht in 2013 – could benefit from new tax break
Contributions to New Yorkers for a Balanced Albany: $250,000
Contributions to Cuomo: $75,000
Carl Icahn sold his 177-foot mega-yacht, the Starfire, in 2013. The asking price was $37.5 million. Now that his friends in the state legislature are handing out generous tax breaks to billionaire yacht buyers, maybe he’ll upgrade to a newer model?
- $373,600 in campaign cash to support Cuomo and Senate GOP
- Two yachts and a private plane
Contributions to Andrew Cuomo: $48,600
Contributions to New Yorkers for a Balanced Albany: $325,000
Bacon has two luxury craft: a 74-foot 1954 Marinette Marine Corp. vessel docked in New Suffolk,[iv] and ‘Kanga’ a 38-foot boat he keeps on Robins Island.[v] Bacon also has a prop plane, a 1999 Mooney M20.[vi]
- $146,800 in campaign cash to support Cuomo and Senate GOP
- A private intercontinental jetliner
Contributions to Andrew Cuomo: $96,800
Contributions to New Yorkers for a Balanced Albany: $50,000
Robbins, a resident of Alpine, New Jersey, is reported to own a private Boeing 767 intercontinental jetliner, on which he flew 100 friends to his second wedding in the south of France in 2012.[vii]
WILLIAM “BILL” ACKMAN
- $96,000 in campaign cash to Cuomo
- Lavish $32-49 million Gulfstream jet
Ackman’s lavish Gulfstream won drooling coverage from CNBC’s “Delivering Alpha” team for its beautiful interiors described as “nothing short of amazing.”[viii]
- $1,323,200 in campaign cash to support Senate GOP
- Reported to fly presidential candidates on leased private jets
$500,000 to New Yorkers for a Balanced Albany
$823,200 to candidates, accounts & PACs supporting Senate GOP
Paul Singer is reported to have provided support to Rudolph Giuliani by giving him free rides on planes leased by Elliott Assett Management.[ix]
ANDREW FARKAS: THE CUOMO CRONY WHO SEALED THE DEAL
- Contributions to Andrew Cuomo: $447,808
- Owns yacht clubs in Montauk, Newport
- Controls public land for yacht parking in Manhattan Financial District
Andrew Farkas doesn’t just own yachts — he owns two New York marinas. Farkas’ Island Global Yachting owns both the Montauk Island Yacht Club and the Newport Yacht Club.
And as Capital New York reported today, he is one of two “close allies of Cuomo” that recently won the glittering public concession for yacht parking steps away from Goldman Sachs and the homes of dozens of hedge fund managers in the TriBeCa neighborhood of Manhattan in a deal that “smacked of cronyism.”
According, to Laura Nahmias of Capital New York: “In January this year, the Battery Park City Authority, whose members are appointed by the governor, opted to award a 10-year license to operate the North Cove Marina to Brookfield Properties and Island Global Yachting, which is run by Cuomo’s former employer Andrew Farkas, and is an affiliate of Island Capital Group LLC, the real estate merchant banking firm run by Farkas, which once employed Cuomo as a vice president.”