Suffern’s No. 1 taxpayer launches multimillion-dollar assessment challenge

The owner of the former Novartis campus wants its property assessments dropped by millions of dollars, potentially dealing a huge tax blow to the village, school district and town of Ramapo.

Suffern Partners LLC filed a challenge on properties on Old Mill Road in Suffern and Hemion Road in Montebello seeking to drop the assessments from almost $4.8 million to $696,000‬, according to documents filed in state Supreme Court in New City.

In 2017, Novartis sold three parcels comprising the 162-acre campus for $18 million to RS Old Mill LLC, which quickly turned around and sold it to Suffern Partners for $30 million. The transaction has been the subject of a complex legal battle between the two entities in bankruptcy court.

The properties together are Suffern’s No. 1 taxpayer and the No. 5 taxpayer in Ramapo. Bills for the 2019-2020 fiscal year on those parcels show more than $2.2 million in town, county and school district taxes alone.

Figures for how much in taxes were paid to Suffern and Montebello were not available Tuesday. Neither village nor town officials returned messages seeking comment. A message left for Bruce Stavisky, the lawyer listed as representing Suffern Partners, did not immediately return a call Tuesday.

The court filing by the corporation and Goldie Reisman, a Monsey resident who has been listed in other documents as the corporation’s buyer, lists Ramapo, its assessor and Board of Assessment, and Rockland County as respondents.

Suffern Partners filed a grievance in May with Ramapo but was not granted a reduction, leading to its court challenge. It was unclear when the case would come before Justice Robert Berliner.

The court filing called the corporation’s assessment “erroneous … excessive, overvalued, unlawful (illegal) and unequal” because it’s “at a higher proportionate valuation than the assessments of other real property” on the town’s tax rolls.


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