Bloomberg owns 11 properties and pays much higher taxes than Romney
Mayor Michael Bloomberg is now the owner of 11 properties, thanks to two major real estate purchases he made in 2011.
Unlike presidential candidate Mitt Romney, whose 13.9 percent 2010 tax rate has become the subject of much debate, the mayor, a billionaire, pays a federal income tax rate of 34.69 percent, though that does not take into account deductions from charitable contributions. The highest federal tax rate is 35 percent.
Those details and more became public with the release this morning of the mayor's New York City Conflicts of Interest Board financial disclosure report, and a version of his 2011 federal and New York State tax returns.
Reporters gathered at the midtown offices of the mayor's accountant, Geller & Company, to look through the documents.
In June of last year, a few months before the mayor’s well-publicized purchase of a $20 million Georgian estate in Southampton, the mayor bought a house in North Salem from someone named Joseph Pinto.
This would be the mayor’s second residence in North Salem. He also owns a 20-acre property called Gotham North, where his daughter Georgina rides horses. Pinto sold the property to the mayor for an undisclosed amount of money, and then leased it back for his own use. As a result, the mayor took in a rental income from Pinto of between $100,000 and $249,999.99.
The Bloombergs have had a relationship with Pinto for a while now. A 2000 New York Times article details the Bloombergs' bid to buy Pinto's Sunshine Farm, which, according to the Observer, ultimately became Gotham North.
The mayor's tax returns indicate he made between $5,000 and $44,000 of repairs on the new North Salem property and spent up to $5,000 on landscaping.
The mayor also owns homes in Armonk, Vail, and Bermuda, a 79th Street townhouse and a condo in New York City, a home in Cadogan Square, London and the Beaux-Arts mansion on 78th Street that houses both his family foundation and Willett Advisors, which invests his and the foundation’s money. Finally, the mayor owns a home in Wellington, Florida, from which he also derives rental income.
The bulk of the mayor’s income is derived from his company, Bloomberg L.P., of which he owns 85 percent, and assorted investments, but he also continues to derive a small amount of money from a 2001 movie he produced called Focus, staring William H. Macy and Laura Dern, and from an appearance he made on "30 Rock" in 2008.
The mayor pays nearly the highest federal income tax rate on all of the income.
"The effective tax rate that he pays before his charitable contributions, which are very significant, he is one of the most generous philanthropists in the country, is 34.69 percent," said his spokesman, Stu Loeser. "There is a reduction from the 35 percent to the 34.69 percent, a slight reduction, which is attributed entirely to qualified dividends. Qualified dividends are investments in American companies, in which a company makes a profit, the company itself is taxed fully for its profit, and then the profit is then shared with its investors in the form of dividends, which are then taxed at 15 percent, because they've already been taxed the first time."
The mayor pays more than $1 million a year in New York City property taxes alone.
And he apparently continues to have a very solid relationship with his ex-wife, Susan Bloomberg. Last year he issued a bridge loan of more than $500,000 to her so that she could buy an apartment downtown, while awaiting the sale of her One Kenmare Place apartment. Unrelated, the mayor also transferred more than $500,000 into a trust in her name.
Also of note, the mayor no longer sits on the board of the Bloomberg Family Foundation.
The only non-cash charitable contributions the mayor made last year were more than $500,000 of “marketable securities.” The report did not say who got them.