Nigeria To Investigate Unpaid Real Estate Taxes In New York
Thursday, February 11, 2010
The Nigerian House of Representatives has asked the parliamentary Committee
on Foreign Affairs to look into the alleged failure of the country’s official
representatives in New York to pay claims of between USD4.1m and USD16m in real
estate taxes on the building the government owns in Manhattan.
It was announced last month that New York City has filed an action in the Federal
District Court as it claimed that portions of the building at 828 Second Avenue,
known as "Nigeria House", while being partially used for tax-exempt
purposes (including offices for the Nigerian Consulate and the Nigerian Mission
to the United Nations), have also been used, at least since 2002, and possibly
as far back as 1993, for commercial and other non-tax exempt purposes.
For example, New York City has claimed that the now-defunct Nigeria Airways
formerly occupied space in the building’s lobby, while space was leased
to the United Nations on the second, third, fifth, and sixth floors. The building’s
fourth floor, it is understood, contained private businesses, and the twentieth
floor contained a residential unit.
Concerns have been expressed on the effect the above dispute could have on
Nigeria’s future relations with the United States. The Committee on Foreign
Affairs has therefore been asked to inquire into all the facts surrounding the
case, and also to establish whether similar tax problems could arise in any
other of the country’s foreign missions. It has been told to report back
to parliament within four weeks.