March 28, 2017 – MIAMI, FL – A group of Miami business owners can now move forward with their legal efforts to collect millions of tax dollars owed to them by the City of Miami for their participation in an incentive program to develop enterprise zones, thanks to a ruling by the Third District Court of Appeal.
The March 22 ruling (PDF) grew out of a class action lawsuit filed in 2013 by the Miami-based law firm Pardo Jackson Gainsburg & Shelowitz, PL on behalf of 346 NW 29th Street, LLC and all similarly situated businesses located in the Enterprise Zone of the City of Miami.
The complaint alleged that the city failed to comply with its own ordinance entitling the business owners to real estate and personal property tax rebates under the Ad Valorem Tax Exemption for Enterprise Zone Businesses, which was passed in 2002, but not enacted until 2004. Those zones include parts of what are today Midtown, Wynwood, the Design District and Brickell. Developments include the Epic Hotel, Midtown Development and Met 1 and 2. Such zones offer businesses incentives, including tax concessions to encourage investment and provide jobs.
Between 2004 and 2011, approximately 67 businesses within the Miami Enterprise Zones filed applications seeking approval of an ad valorem tax exemption. However, they received neither a written approval nor a denial of their applications.
“To this date, despite more than 65 property owners requesting reimbursement of taxes under the ordinance, the City of Miami has not reimbursed a single penny of tax dollars,” said Stevan Pardo, who with Nicole Rekant, represents the class. “This ruling allows our clients to seek damages we believe exceed $30 million.”
In 2016, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Rosa Rodriguez granted the class summary judgment on its claim. The city appealed arguing that she lacked jurisdiction. The appellate court disagreed.
“Now that the city’s efforts to avoid rebating tax monies have failed, property owners will be entitled to receive the tax incentives that voters approved and that the city should have paid to property owners years ago,” said Rekant.
PARDO JACKSON GAINSBURG & SHELOWITZ, PL
Pardo Jackson Gainsburg & Shelowitz, PL is a Miami-based business law firm that represents clients in all areas of real estate, construction, hotel/hospitality, litigation, creditors’ rights, and corporate matters. The firm handles complicated business and construction litigation, with an emphasis on complex commercial, construction law and insurance defense, and represents clients in corporate transactions, including loan origination and workouts, contracts and mergers and acquisitions.