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Little Falls couple says they were targeted for speaking out at Council Meeting

By GARY LIBERATORE

LITTLE FALLS, N.Y. (WKTV) - Edward and Bonnie Mazlo spoke out at Monday night's Little Falls City Council Meeting over the issue of the tax exempt status of the store called the Community Co-op.

They say that the following day, they woke to the sight of nails under their vehicle's tires.

We caught up with the couple as they were filing a police report with Little Falls Police on Tuesday afternoon.

Bonnie Mazlo says she believes the issue over this tax exempt status has gotten crazy, and now has gone way too far.

She says other residents have been afraid of retaliation, so they have chosen not to speak out, so the Mazlos basically remain alone in their fight on the issue at City Council meetings.

Little Falls Mayor Robert Peters says this issue has 'torn the city apart for months."

The Little Falls YMCA owns the Community Co-op, a store which Mayor Peters says brought in over $1.3 million in profits last year.

The YMCA also owns two, two-family homes which it rents out to low to median income families.

Peters says he believes there has been a question as to where the profits on all three buildings went, whether or not they indeed were given to the not-for-profit YMCA.

City Assessor Joy Presta determined that the YMCA should pay taxes on the profit made by the Community Co-op, but soon after, the YMCA filed a lawsuit against the city, claiming the Community Co-op and two-family rentals are not-for-profit and should not be taxed.

The City of Little Falls hired an attorney to fight this case, but Monday night, the City Council voted 8-0 in favor of stopping that litigation funding and returning the YMCA properties in question to tax exempt status.

Mayor Peters says he was against this agreement, but in the end, he said the issue has torn apart the city, so he decided to vote in favor of it as well.

He did have the authority to veto it.

The Mazlos say the City Council and Mayor circumvented the judicial process of the tax laws.

Mayor Peters says a higher entity such as the state may come in and investigate the way this was handled and may also investigate where the profits earned at the Community Co-op ended up.

We have yet to reach anyone from the Little Falls YMCA.

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