A civil discrimination lawsuit filed by the Legion of Christ against a Northern Westchester town has been tossed out after a judge found no credible evidence to back their claims.
The New York State Supreme Court dismissed a civil rights lawsuit filed by the religious group against the Town of Mount Pleasant over a dispute about the Legion’s former land in Thornwood.
Officials said that the Legion of Christ sued Mount Pleasant for religious discrimination after the Town determined that the Legion’s undeveloped, 161-acre property in Thornwood was taxable.
Officials noted that the latest decision comes after a similar court decision in 2020 that found that the property was fully taxable.
In 1996, the Legion purchased the former conference center, which consisted of two parcels, a 164-acre unimproved area and a contiguous 97-acre parcel that contained the conference center.
The following year, the Legion applied to the Town for tax-exempt status for the unimproved parcel, which the Town denied, leading to years of litigation between the two sides.
In 2017, the Legion of Christ’s property was purchased by EF Academy, which opened a private boarding high school on the property.
According to officials, “the Legion still owns the unimproved parcel and there have been stalled efforts to sell it to a developer.”
“I’m pleased that the Supreme Court continues to uphold the Town Assessor’s determination of the taxability of the Legion’s 161-acre vacant property. This was never about religious discrimination,” Mount Pleasant Town Supervisor Carl Fulgenzi said.
“The two decisions are an enormous benefit to the taxpayers of the Town ensuring that our institutional properties are paying their fair share of property taxes so that the property tax burden of our residents is mitigated.”
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