Retired NYT Editor: I May Have to Move Because of Taxes

Image: Retired NYT Editor: I May Have to Move Because of Taxes Retired New York Times managing editor Seymour Topping (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Wednesday, 13 Aug 2014 11:15 AM

By John Blosser

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Retired New York Times managing editor Seymour Topping, 92, may have to give up his home of nearly 50 years in upscale Scarsdale, N.Y., because he can't afford to pay double what he paid last year in property taxes.

Thanks to a reassessment of homes in Scarsdale, Topping has seen his property taxes jump  from $43,415 to $85,704 in the past year on a home and two-acre lot that he bought in 1967 for just $80,000, according to the Journal News.

The  home is now valued at $4.2 million. Topping lives there with his wife Audrey, 86, a photographer and author, according to the Journal News.

The revaluation has wealthy Scarsdale residents up in arms and heading to court because, in the 45 years since Scarsdale had its last reassessment, locals with lavish mansions have been riding the coattails of lower-income residents, many of whose homes were overvalued and overtaxed, while the multiacre, multiroomed luxurious residences were undervalued and undertaxed.

In 2012, Scarsdale paid $800,000 to Tyler Technologies of Dallas to perform the assessment of about 5,900 pricey properties in Scarsdale, according to the Journal News.

"Audrey and I are journalists and we covered the wars in Asia before we came home here to live in Scarsdale. We've had a lot of shocks, but this was another kind of shock, when we got our new assessment and the projected increase in our taxes," Seymour Topping told the Journal News.

"Audrey and I have to think now — can we afford to live here? We live on a pension and we're not rich people.

"I was in absolute shock. We looked forward to living out our last years here. Now, it has become impossible to live here unless I borrow money to pay the taxes."

Topping spent more than 30 years with The New York Times, including 10 as managing editor, and retired in 1992.

The rich are striking back. Topping has joined 956 other residents in bringing their cases before the village Board of Assessment Review. If the cases fail, they can go to the state Supreme Court.

Audrey Topping told the Journal News, "It's not easy for us to move out, but the taxes may force us to move from Scarsdale."

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