Lawmakers in Albany, New York, are expected to pass a budget resolution that will include a proposal to strip Madison Square Garden (MSG) of its $42 million property tax exemption and send it to the MTA.
The property tax is now 40 years old, and it stems from MSG owner James Dolan’s use of facial recognition technology, which has drawn much controversy.
The technology has resulted in several bans against lawyers suing Dolan, who owns the New York Rangers and New York Knicks.
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This is not the first time the state has gone after Dolan – even as recently as two months ago, the state also threatened to snatch MSG’s liquor license, which Dolan scoffed at.
“We’re going to pick a night, maybe a Rangers game, and we’re going to shut down all the liquor and alcohol in the building. This isn’t going to bother me because I’ve been sober 29 years. I don’t need the liquor,” Dolan said back in January.
“Where we serve liquor, we’re going to put one of these up,” Dolan said, picking up a paper next to him. “It says, ‘If you’d like to drink at a game, please call Sharif Kabir, chief executive officer [of the State Liquor Authority], or write him an email at this number and tell him to stick to his knitting and to what he’s supposed to be doing and stop grandstanding and trying to get press.”
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New York state Attorney General Letitia James is demanding documents from MSG that say its use of facial recognition technology does not violate New Yorkers’ civil rights. However, Dolan has continued to defend it.
“If you owned a bakery, or a restaurant, and someone comes in and buys bread from you and the next day they served you with a lawsuit because they hated your bread, they said something happened to them with it,” Dolan also said in January. “Then, the next day, they show up to your bakery again and say, ‘Hey, I’d like to buy more bread.’ Would you sell them that bread? If you’re being sued, you don’t have to welcome the person into your home, right? The real issue that’s going on here is our policy of not letting attorneys who are suing us into our building until they’re done suing us. When they’re done, they’re very much welcome back.”
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The New York Post that the new state budget is due on April 1.