Zarlengo v. Commissioner

U.S. Tax Court, T.C. Memo. 2014-161, August 11, 2014: Recording of NY easement determines date of compliance with tax regs. Substantial compliance with appraisal date requirement adequate.

Marco Zarlengo (“Zarlengo”) and his ex-wife Merilyn Sandin-Zarlengo (“Sandin-Zarlengo) signed a “facade conservation easement” (historic preservation easement) in 2004, and it was recorded in 2005. They each claimed a qualified [...]

Mellon v. International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery

U.S. District Court, D. Wyoming, No. 1:13-CV-00118-SWS, July 25, 2014: No negligent misrepresentation in Amelia Earhart search fundraising.

This decision is of some relevance as a discussion of the claim of Mellon, the plaintiff/donor, that The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (“TIGHAR”), the defendant, engaged in negligent misrepresentation in fundraising. The court found that TIGHAR did [...]

Seventeen Seventy Sherman Street, LLC v. Commissioner

US Tax Court, T.C. Memo 2014-124. June 19, 2014: quid pro quo for historic conservation easement not fully valued; deduction denied.

The claim by Seventeen Seventy Sherman Street, LLC (Petitioner) for a charitable deduction for a conservation easement it granted to a charitable organization was denied by the IRS. The Petitioner conceded that the grant of the [...]

Whitehouse Hotel Limited Partnership V. Commissioner (Whitehouse IV)

US Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit, No. 13-60131, June 11, 2014: Reliance on qualified appraisal and accountant advice can be good faith basis to avoid tax penalty, but tax court’s valuation decision upheld.

This decision is the fourth in this historic preservation façade easement tax case. The case began when Whitehouse made a charitable contribution of a [...]

Chandler v. Commissioner

U.S. Tax Court, 142 T.C. 16, May 14, 2014: Preservation easement valuation zero in historic district. 2006 carryover deduction claim subject to accuracy penalty.

At issue was the valuation for federal income tax deduction purposes of historic preservation façade easements on two single-family residences in Boston’s South End Historic District.  The question was whether the burdens imposed [...]

Patterson v. Christ Church

Massachusetts Appeals Court, No. 13-P-354, April 3, 2014: Recreational use law from liability even when defendant gets economic benefit; no consumer protection liability either.

Linda Patterson brought suit after she was injured from a fall inside a historic church while she toured it. The Pattersons claimed the recreational use statute, M.G.L. c. 21, § 17C (current version [...]

Kaufman v. Commissioner (Kaufman IV)

U.S. Tax Court, T.C. Memo 2014-52, March 31, 2014: Façade Easement had zero value; penalties imposed.

The issues in this case about the federal tax deduction for a “qualified conservation contribution” (a historic preservation façade easement) were principally the valuation of the façade easement and what, if any, penalties the taxpayer should pay for misstating the value [...]

Oehl v. Amana Colonies

Iowa Court of Appeals, Nos. 3-1154/13-0328, March 26, 2014: Certiorari exclusive remedy for project permit approval in historic district.

A permit (COA) is required for certain exterior construction in the historic districts of the unincorporated villages known as Amana Colonies. The permit decision is made by the Amana Colonies Land Use District Board of Trustees (Board). The [...]

Van Liew v. Chelmsford

Mass. Appeals Court, No. 13-P-145, February 28, 2014: No municipal duty to enforce preservation easement; no standing for mandamus declaratory judgment.

Van Liew brought a mandamus action against the Selectmen of Chelmsford, MA, to require them to enforce a preservation easement. (In Massachusetts, Preservation easements and conservation easements are governed by the same statute, M.G.L. chapter 184, [...]

61 York Acquisition, LLC v. Commissioner

U.S. Tax Court, T.C. Memo. 2013-266, November 19, 2013: No historic preservation easement deduction when donor doesn’t have right to restrict entire exterior.

A historic preservation easement was donated by a partnership (the “Partnership”) on the façade of a building divided for ownership purposes into two segments: an “Office Property”, which consists of the first 14 floors [...]

Gorra v. Commissioner

US Tax Court, T.C. Memo. 2013-254, November 12, 2013: Preservation easement deductible despite similar restrictions in local New York City historic preservation law.

The court held that this façade easement for a “certified historic structure” qualifies for a tax deduction despite some overlap with New York City’s Landmarks Law. The decision offers reasons that the circumstances in [...]

Hanna and Mrowka v. Chicago

Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, No. 06 CH 19422, unpublished, September 26, 2013: Words ‘historic’, ‘significant’, ‘value’ not vague in landmarks ordinance.

The plaintiffs challenged the landmarks ordinance under which the city designated as historic landmarks the neighborhoods in which the plaintiffs own property. They asserted that the ordinance was invalid and unconstitutional because it uses [...]

500, LLC v. Minneapolis

Supreme Court of Minnesota, No. A11-1705, September 25, 2013: Action on certificate of appropriateness to alter historic landmark is “relating to zoning” under Minnesota law.

Under Minnesota law (Minn. Stat. § 15.99, subd. 2(a) (2012)) a city has only 60 days to “approve or deny” an application for a “written request relating to zoning” or the request [...]

Friedberg v. Commissioner (Friedberg II)

U.S. Tax Court, T.C. Memo. 2013-224, September 23, 2013: Appraisal deemed “qualified” on reconsideration, based on Scheidelman II decision.

 This case is a reconsideration of the Tax Court’s decision in Friedberg v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2011- 238 (Friedberg I) in light of the US 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Scheidelman v. Commissioner, 682 [...]

Temple B’nai Zion, Inc. v. Sunny Isles Beach

US Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit, No. 12-12984, August 29, 2013: 11th Circuit agrees with 1st on landmark designation RIULPA ripeness test.

An Orthodox Jewish congregation (Temple) challenged the City’s designation of the congregation’s synagogue as a historic landmark. The designation would limit the Temple’s plans to alter its building to make it better conform with Orthodox [...]

Friends of Bethany Place, Inc. v. Topeka

Kansas Supreme Court, No. 100,997, August 23, 2013: Under Kansas Historic Preservation Act governing body decides whether (1) there are no feasible and prudent alternatives to the project and (2) the project program includes all possible planning to minimize harm to the historic property.

“The Topeka City Council granted Grace Episcopal Cathedral and The Episcopal Diocese of [...]

Kelley v. Cambridge Historical Commission

Massachusetts Appeals Court, No. 12-P-1309, Aug. 21, 2013: No standing to enforce perpetual restriction or challenge historical certificate of appropriateness.

Four individuals living in the vicinity of St. James Episcopal parish church (but not abutters), challenged actions by the Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC) and the Cambridge Historical Commission (CHC) in connection with a commercial development on church [...]

Historic Boardwalk Cert Denied

U.S. Supreme Court, No. 12-901, 5/28/13: Supreme Court lets Historic Boardwalk Third Circuit decision stands.

The U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari to Historic Boardwalk Hall LLC, letting stand the Third Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Historic Boardwalk Hall, LLC v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, US Third Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 11-1832, decided August 27, 2012. [...]

GRAEV v. COMMISSIONER

U.S. Tax Court, 140 T.C. 17, June 24, 2013: Side letter promising termination of conservation easement disqualifies tax deduction.

 Before petitioner Graev donated a historic preservation easement and a cash stewardship contribution to National Architectural Trust (NAT) he requested and received from NAT a letter promising that if the IRS disallowed Graev’s charitable contribution deductions [...]

Schottland V. Brown Harris Stevens Brooklyn, LLC

Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York, Second Department, 2013 NY Slip Op 03982, June 5, 2013: A NY property seller’s covenants against prior acts may require disclosure of a conservation easement.

 In or about 2002, the Netzer defendants granted what the court called “a conservation easement” (it was a historic preservation façade [...]