The Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division issued a definitive decision Monday concluding that the Red Bulls Arena in Harrison is not tax exempt.
The decision stems from an appeal with the Tax Court of New Jersey in which the arena owners argued Judge Christine Nugent’s decision in May 2012.
Completed in 2010, the owners argued that the site of the Red Bulls arena was acquired from the Harrison Redevelopment Agency — a tax exempt entity — and was used for redevelopment purposes for the public good.
Judge Nugent in Newark rejected this argument and denied the stadium’s request to be considered a tax-exempt public amenity.
Even though lawyers for the Red Bulls Arena have argued Nugent’s decision since 2013, today’s decision from the Appellate Division stated: “Unquestionably, attracting a major league soccer team was a major part of the redevelopment plan. Nevertheless, Red Bull’s actual operation of the stadium exceeds the (Hudson County Improvement) Authority’s and the (Harrison Redevelopment) Agency’s statutory mandates. Accordingly, because the property is not used for a statutorily authorized public purpose, it is not tax exempt.”
The Red Bulls are now facing more than $2 million in property taxes annually, plus any outstanding taxes it owed from 2010 to 2013.
“If the Red Bulls want to appeal, the next step would be to file a petition for certification with the Supreme Court of New Jersey to request that they hear their appeal,” said Paul Genato, a property tax attorney with the law firm of Archer & Greiner, P.C. in Princeton. “The Supreme Court of New Jersey does not grant certification routinely. In fact, certification is denied in approximately ninety percent of the cases filed.”
Though not directly affiliated with the case, Genato serves as a current member of the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on the Tax Court for the 2012-2014 term.
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