Tom Friedman's tax-avoiding in-laws

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New York Times columnist Tom Friedman has spilled a lot of ink over the last few years bemoaning the sorry state of schools in America — particularly in light of competition our children will be facing with those of upwardly—mobile nations such as China and India.

He might therefore consider asking his billionaire in—laws to stop their efforts to get one of their many shopping centers revalued for tax purposes. Northbrook Court is owned by General Growth Properties, a real estate investment trust founded and controlled by Friedman's wife's family. They are demanding that Northbrook, a suburb of Chicago, lower the assessed valuation by more than 50% from last year. The family lives in Chicago. They may have no local loyalty, but they certainly are local royalty. 

The Bucksbaum family began their real estate ventures in 1954. In 1970 they sold their holdings to General Growth Properties (a REIT) and took control of this company, which they have continued to control. One of the two brothers who founded the company has a  daughter, Ann (an economist, by the way), who married Tom Friedman many years ago.

The center is a jewel: it has a surfeit of leather couches, an abundance of marble, an indoor pond, a Neiman Marcus and a Ruths Chris Steak House, as well as many other high—end purveyors of luxe.

No damage from natural disasters has befallen the center. Yet the family wishes to cut the company's tax bill for the property. If Friedman's in—laws get what they want, my school district will lose more than 1.1 million dollars.
 
Hey Tom, time for a call to the in—laws. Maybe they need to read your columns.

Ed Lasky    2 10 06

New York Times columnist Tom Friedman has spilled a lot of ink over the last few years bemoaning the sorry state of schools in America — particularly in light of competition our children will be facing with those of upwardly—mobile nations such as China and India.

He might therefore consider asking his billionaire in—laws to stop their efforts to get one of their many shopping centers revalued for tax purposes. Northbrook Court is owned by General Growth Properties, a real estate investment trust founded and controlled by Friedman's wife's family. They are demanding that Northbrook, a suburb of Chicago, lower the assessed valuation by more than 50% from last year. The family lives in Chicago. They may have no local loyalty, but they certainly are local royalty. 

The Bucksbaum family began their real estate ventures in 1954. In 1970 they sold their holdings to General Growth Properties (a REIT) and took control of this company, which they have continued to control. One of the two brothers who founded the company has a  daughter, Ann (an economist, by the way), who married Tom Friedman many years ago.

The center is a jewel: it has a surfeit of leather couches, an abundance of marble, an indoor pond, a Neiman Marcus and a Ruths Chris Steak House, as well as many other high—end purveyors of luxe.

No damage from natural disasters has befallen the center. Yet the family wishes to cut the company's tax bill for the property. If Friedman's in—laws get what they want, my school district will lose more than 1.1 million dollars.
 
Hey Tom, time for a call to the in—laws. Maybe they need to read your columns.

Ed Lasky    2 10 06