Feb. 10 – Tell City Council No Tax Exemption for Venture Richmond!

Posted: February 6, 2014 in Uncategorized
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Please come out to Richmond City Council on February 10th at 6pm at City Hall to speak out against giving Venture richmond a real estate tax exemption.

Venture Richmond is a massive “non profit” heavily involved in lobbying for gentrifying plans to benefit developers and the wealthy, without helping the people of Richmond.

They are currently involved in the Revitalize RVA which plans to waste almost 80 million tax oayer doklars on a baseball stadium and development which will benefit private developers and is not wanted by the people of Richmond.

The letter below by Charles Pool has an excellent break down of why Venture Richmond deserves no breaks from the tax payers of Richmond. They have more than enough money and too little regard for the citizens.

If you want to file a complaint against Venture Richmond with the IRS, please do. IRS form 13909 Tax Exempt Organization (referral) Complaint Form.

Dear Honorable Members of Richmond City Council,

The Richmond City Council will vote on February 10th on whether to give Venture Richmond a real estate tax exemption for its “Tredegar Green” property.   City Council should not approve this tax exemption for Venture Richmond for the following reasons:

1). The City Council has a moratorium on granting tax exemptions by designation.  Venture Richmond submitted this application in 2012, and Venture Richmond failed to meet the deadline of April 8, 2013 , as established by City Ordinance 2013-19, for introducing an ordinance exempting property from taxation by designation.

2). State code requires that City Council consider whether the non-profit applying for tax exemption engages in substantial lobbying for legislation.   According to Venture Richmond, it has spent the substantial sum of at least $32,000 lobbying for the Mayor’s Shockoe Stadium proposal.   The Mayor is President of Venture Richmond, and Venture Richmond has been engaged in substantial lobbying for the Mayor’s legislation.

3).  State code also requires that City Council consider whether the executive salary of the non-profit is reasonable when considering an organization’s application for  tax exemption.  Venture Richmond Director Jack Berry receives a salary of over $240,000 annually, according to IRS filings.   If Venture Richmond can afford to pay its Director over $240,000, it is unreasonable to believe that it cannot afford to pay $43,000 in city real estate tax.

4).  Richmond’s Tax Exemption by Designation Committee recommended AGAINST a real estate tax exemption for Venture Richmond, and the committee sessions generally focused on the amount of executive salaries, revenue sources and any duplication of city services being performed by each applicant. 

5).  The Venture Richmond property above the canal is zoned Residential-Office (RO-3) and under this zoning an amphitheater is not a permitted use.  City code requires that the property conform to zoning code before receiving a tax exemption.

6).  According to a video-taped presentation given by Venture Richmond Director Jack Berry to the Oregon Hill Neighborhood Association, it the intention of Venture Richmond to rent out the amphitheater with no limitation on the number of events annually, and to serve alcoholic beverages on the property.   Rental property generating income for the non-profit is generally not considered a charitable purpose for tax exemption.

7).  Venture Richmond competes in the market place with other promoters, and granting a tax exemption for its property would give Venture Richmond an unfair advantage over its competitors. 

8). There are other more deserving non-profit organizations, which do not engage in substantial lobbying, that applied for, but did not receive, real estate tax exemption, including:  VMFA, Science Museum of Virginia,  Family Lifeline,  CHAT, Hands Up Ministries, and  Richmond Urban Senior Housing. 

Please look closely at Venture Richmond’s application for tax exemption for its “Tredegar Green” property.  For many reasons, the Venture Richmond tax exemption should not be approved.

Sincerely,

Charles Pool

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