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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Awarding Paul McKee Tax Credits Doesn't Violate MO Constitution, Judge Rules

Posted By on Thu, Apr 1, 2010 at 10:50 AM

click to enlarge Developer Paul McKee's tax credits are safe - for now. - PHOTO BY JENNIFER SILVERBERG
  • Photo by Jennifer Silverberg
  • Developer Paul McKee's tax credits are safe - for now.
The final judgment against anti-Paul-McKee crusaders Barb Manzara and Keith Marquard, at least at the level of Missouri's 19th circuit, is pretty brutal.

Last October, the pair filed a suit in Cole County challenging the constitutionality of the Distressed Areas Land Assemblage Tax Credit Act, which began as a bill drafted by one of McKee's own attorneys, then became state law, and then was used by the developer to get $19.6 million in tax credits late last year.

McKee sold those tax credits and used the proceeds to pay down his debt. Manzara and Marquard viewed this as unconstitutional, arguing that such an incentive program allows the developer, flush with public money, to minimize his personal stake in the plan that he's hatched for North St. Louis.

Well, Judge Patricia S. Joyce disagrees -- a lot. Manzara and Marquard failed to show how the tax credit program harmed them and therefore they lack the standing to challenge it, she writes. But even if they did have standing, Joyce writes, their claims fail anyway, because the program does benefit the redevelopment area, and thus does not violate Missouri's constitution.

According to Irene Smith, former alderwoman and counsel for the plaintiffs, their side will appeal. Here's the whole document. 
19th Circuit Judgment - Manzara and Marquard v. Missouri and NorthSide Regeneration

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