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Politics and Government

Judge rules against city of Syracuse in dispute with COR Development

Ellen Abbott
WRVO News File Photo

A State Supreme Court Judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the city of Syracuse against COR Development.

At the center of the legal action -- tax breaks, and whether the developer promised the city that they wouldn’t seek any. 

The city filed the suit last December, the day COR won 15 years of property tax exemptions from the Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency, for its $324 million  Inner Harbor project. Attorneys contended the city had verbal reassurances from COR President Steve Aiello that the company would not seek a PILOT, or payment in lieu of taxes agreement. 

Judge James Murphy wrote in his decision that there was "overwhelming proof that Aiello never stated that COR would not go after those tax breaks." Aiello, in a statement following the judges decision, says the city’s maneuver will negatively impact the timely employment of 250 local construction workers on the project and potentially 60 other jobs involving connected to the Aloft Hotel. 

The court case has had political overtones from the start, and was at the center of some public bickering between Mayor Stephanie Miner and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney. It also has spurred protests from a local job task force that contend COR isn’t doing enough to hire local workers. 

The city has the option to appeal this decision. In a statement last night, the city said it is reviewing the decision, and examining options going forward.