Consequences of a Real Property Tax Scheme Enacted by a City Being Declared Unconstitutional

In Angelone v. City of Rochester (72 AD2d 445, 449 [4th Dept]) the Court had previously held a real property tax scheme enacted by the City of Rochester unconstitutional. In response to that ruling, the City passed an ordinance refunding the illegally collected taxes to all present real property taxpayers and not specifically to those taxpayers who actually paid the tax. This prompted yet another taxpayer challenge in which the Fourth Department held that the refund ordinance granted unconstitutional gifts of public monies to those who did not actually pay the tax, in violation of article VIII, 1 of the New York Constitution. The purported contract implied in law in the case at bar is comparable with the ordinance in Angelone v. Rochester (supra). While the Estate may have detrimentally altered its position, it was not owed any duty by the City. Thus the underlying premise of the contract implied in law in the instant matter is an illegal gift by the City of the services of demolition to the Estate rather than the satisfaction of a duty.