Local Organizations Head the List!
It’s tax time again and you are being held hostage by your Assessor, the government, and the “gimme-s.” Yes, you’re probably agonizing over how much property tax, school tax, income tax, and indirect tax you are going to be held liable for. You have no choice but to pay; otherwise you’ll face incredible penalties, interest, and even loss of your property and garnished earnings. You can only hope that you get to keep some of your earnings and enjoy your property without going to the poor house. “Liberty and justice for all” goes to hell in a hand-basket at tax time; forget all the sweet words and “Welcome to reality!”
Costs to taxpayers increase while services are either curtailed or discontinued altogether. You still have to pay, whether you get the services or not. Downsizing services or product contents while keeping the price the same is nothing new in the scammer’s toolbox. A can of coffee used to be 16 oz; container’s the same but contains 14 oz. Same price.
Here’s another local scam for you: Did you know that local cable service provider MidHudson Cable has discontinued its email service, which for years was part of the cable package offered by the rinky-dink provider based in Catskill, NY. Have any of the local Albany County and Greene County subscribers noticed any decrease in their monthly cable bills since MidHudson discontinued their email services? Very unlikely, indeed. MidHudson has not decreased your bill. But you will certainly have noticed the regular nickle-and-dime gouging increases that appear on your cable bill at regular intervals.
Every property owner has to pay property tax, a good portion of which goes to school tax to educate young people in elementary, middle, and high-school. The school tax is paid ONLY by property owners; everyone else gets to enjoy the benefits without paying. But even those residents who don’t pay property tax get to vote on the school budget. Fair? Right?
This is particularly unfair to many mid-life and older property owners who have no children in the schools, and to business property owners, who don’t get to vote on the school budget. For your information, the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Central School District budget for 2020 is more than $48 million! Yes, you read that correctly, $48 million. You should really be wondering what you’re getting for all that dough! Well, about 75% of that money goes to salaries and benefits for teachers and employees. Then there’s upkeep and maintenance of buildings and equipment. Doesn’t leave much for education, does it? And it shows, doesn’t it?
Everyone has to pay taxes. Well, almost everyone. You see there are some very, very rich organizations in the Capital District Region who don’t pay a dime in property tax. There are quite a few non-profit organizations in the Albany area, about 3,800 nonprofits totaling more than $14 billion in assets. And they don’t pay a dime in tax!
A 2017 Times Union article,
“The Capital Region has thousands of nonprofits receiving contributions from private citizens. This list is drawn from the most recent available IRS Form 990s, which nonprofits file annually declaring revenues and expenses. Government funding was excluded. The list also excludes universities, colleges, nursing homes, hospitals and government-affiliated nonprofits. Hospital foundations are included, as they are separate organizations.”
It’s important to note that the TU list does not include universities, colleges, nursing homes,hospitals and government-affiliated non-profits in the “thousands of non-profits.” And they don’t pay a dime in tax! Interestingly, the Albany Medical Center Foundation is reported to be the #1 recipient, having received more than $14 million dollars in contributions in the reporting period!
We recently reported on the Capital District YMCA, a local non-profit organization, when the Y slashed the veterans discount by 50% in October-November 2019, increasing many veterans’ membership fees by 50%. For example, one veteran contacted us and reported that he had been paying $26/month in Y membership fees but when the veterans discount was halved, he ended up paying $39/month in dues! That’s a 50% increase imposed on veterans by a non-profit organization that pays no taxes. Nice show of American gratitude towards their veterans, right?
“The Capital District YMCA offers facilities in Albany, Bethlehem, Duanesburg, Glenville, Greenbush, Greene County, Guilderland, Schenectady, Southern Saratoga, & Troy! With top-notch facilities, programs, and childcare, the Y has whatever you need!” Really? Sounds like marketing hype to us; just like tax-paying businesses put out there to draw customers.
There seems to be a problem with the CDYMCA receiving government aid in addition to receiving tax-exempt status. Historically, the United States government and state governments have avoided supporting religion or religion-related organizations. You’ve all heard of the separation of church and state, right? Does your church receive government support of its programs? But the CDYMCA does state in it’s mission statement: “To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.” What about Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim principles? Oh! We understand now. The “Christian” principles that the CDYMCA put into practice include greed, hypocrisy, exclusivity, misinformation, etc. You know, all those values we see in politics and government, and in business in this country. We understand that the other religions and belief traditions do not support those key “Christian” principles.
We have information that the Y received numerous complaints in response to the reduction in Veterans’ discounts, and our informant also tells us that despite numerous communications to the Capital District YMCA requesting that the savings to veterans be reinstated, the Y refused to consider reinstating the veterans discount.
Senior Director of Marketing and Membership at Capital District YMCA
All credit for slapping veterans in the face goes to Erin Breslin, Sr Director of Membership, CDYMCA. Not only the name is gender-ambiguous. There’s a lot of ambiguity about stinky-pants Breslin and her gang at CDYMCA. They preach one thing and do another. That’s called hypocrisy where I come from, not charity. But Breslin is unashamed and arrogant. She claims the decision to slash the veterans benefit was a good decision and refuses to reinstate the veterans discount. She takes all the credit, although we doubt she had the decision power to make the decision on her own. She is, after all, just a lackey. But even a lackey in her position must be pulling at least $80-100+ K in salary out of the so-called charity. But we should be looking more closely at J. David Brown, the overpaid, grossly overpaid CEO of the CDYMCA, who is laughing his way to the bank collecting a cool $330,000 salary! So that’s where all the contributions and non-taxable assets are going? That’s quite the scam, don’t you think?
We have correspondence, letters and emails, that were sent by the member to executives at the CDYMCA, including J. David Brown, President/CEO, CDYMCA, Carl Oropallo, District Executive Director, Shawn Dilbert St. James, Membership Director (Bethlehem Branch), and to Erin Breslin, Sr. Director of Marketing and Membership, who was responsible for the outrageous action taken against veterans but none responded, except for Breslin, who refused to reinstate the benefit. We’d like to hear from Ms Breslin on this subject. We’d like to hear her side of the story. Wouldn’t you?
J.D. Brown Exec Dir CDYMCA, refused to respond.
His salary: $330,633.00!
We’d like to hear from Mr J. David Brown on this subject, particularly why he’s worth more than $330K in salary as CEO of a so-called “charity”. We’d like to hear her side of the story. Wouldn’t you? It’s no wonder Breslin had increase every member’s monthly dues by $1, and to slash the veterans benefit discount in half; how else could they pay themselves such outrageous salaries?!?
Hall of Shame: CDYMCA, Erin Breslin, J. David Brown.
The Capital District YMCA operates a number of facilities in the Capital Region and claims in most of their propaganda to be a “charity,” which they definitely are NOT. Since when does a charity charge membership fees? Since when does a charity charge for its programs? The CDYMCA is misinforming the public when they call themselves a charity.
The correct tax department terminology is an organization with “a charitable purpose,” a definition that fall far short of being a charity.
Here’s an example of some of the deceptive practices of the CDYMCA: they accept donations from members and patrons around holiday periods but take credit for distributing the holiday gifts, they don’t provide the gifts, they just distribute them. Many of the CDYMCA programs are for-fee programs, participation is for an additional charge which may be quite considerable. Consider that some of the offerings posted read “Members $50, Non-members $75.” By the way, charities donot have “members,” clubs do and clubs charge membership dues, just like the so-called CDYMCA charity.
Futhermore, the CDYMCA claims to support local organizations and businesses…for a fee, that is. We have information that at least one local facility held a get-to-know-your-local-businesses event, and announced that it was in support of local business. What they did not tell the public is that local businesses had to pay $30 just to participate. A charity?
Well, people, here’s the clincher: The Capital District YMCA has total assets of more than $55 million dollars!!! And they don’t pay a dime in property tax. They are shown under the Fully Exempt section of the local tax rolls!
Now, if you had property assets of $55 million, how much property tax do you think you’d be paying? Any idea what your assessment might look like? Any idea of how much school tax $55 million would generate? Any idea of how many community and school programs would be supported by tax on $55 million in property assets? Well, as far as the CDYMCA and organizations like it, the amount is about $00. NOTHING. How’s that grab ya?
The whole idea of non-profit organization under state and federal tax codes is a complete joke! It’s a farce. The executives, for example, at the CDYMCA receive 5- and 6-figure salaries, comparable to private corporations. In 2018, they up-ed across-the-board membership dues by $1/month to cover “increases” in employee costs. That amounts to quite a bit of money each month, and we assume quite a bit of an increase in employee benefits at the CDYMCA that calls itself a “charity.”
How do you feel about this? Like the suckers you are?
If you operated a business or a corporation and you had $55 million in assets you’d likely be paying a good amount of taxes of every kind. And you’d have to generate the funds to pay those taxes, too. Take for example, corporate chain health and fitness clubs like Planet Fitness. Planet Fitness operates fitness facilities nationwide, just like the YMCA does. Planet Fitness offers many of the services that the YMCA offers. Planet Fitness is a franchise-based corporation, a for-profit business, but their memberships run from about $10/month for local facility use to about $20/month for the so-called Black-Card, which entitles members to use any Planet Fitness facility in the US. Last time we looked, Planet Fitness paid fair wages and salaries and paid considerable taxes on their propreties. So, we’d like to ask, how is it that the CDYMCA who provides comparatively similar services as, say, Planet Fitness, charges up to 4-times as much for membership and pays no taxes? How is it that a low-income veteran on fixed income, no assets, has to pay twice the Planet Fitness premier membership (est. $20/month) for a regular membership ($39/month) at the CDYMCA? That just doesn’t add up. If you don’t see something wrong with this picture, get your eyes examined!
There’s a scam going on here. There’s a very big scam going on here, and organizations like the YMCA are profiting hugely at the expense of communities, service providers, and even the government. Yes, the government. You see, in the reporting year covering the period of April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018, not only did the CDYMCA report more than $55 million in assets but they also reported having received
- more than $2.7 million in grants
- more than $36.2 million in program services revenues
- more than $245,000 in investment income
- more than $370,000 in “other income”
totalling more than $39.5 million in income in addition to the $55 million in assets.
According to local assessment rolls, for example (partial list!), we found:
- Schenectady County Y, Vly Road: $523,200 WHOLLY EXEMPT
- CDYMCA, 465 Karner Road: $3,048,780 WHOLLY EXEMPT
- CDYMCA, Parcel, Karner Road: $36,585 WHOLLY EXEMPT
- CDYMCA, Karner Road (Shenendehowa Ppty.): $407,547 WHOLLY EXEMPT
- CDYMCA, Karner Road, (Shenendehowa Ppty.), $8,982,075 WHOLLY EXEMPT
- CDYMCA, Karner Road, (Shenendehowa Ppty), $4,510,377 WHOLLY EXEMPT
- CDYMCA, (E. Greenbush), $7,758,700 WHOLLY EXEMPT
- CDYMCA, (Coxsackie) $3,355,072 WHOLLY EXEMPT
- Troy YMCA, $3,070,000 WHOLLY EXEMPT
[Sources: Local Municipalities, Office of the Assessor, Property Tax Rolls]
Here is some salary information for the CDYMCA:
The average salary for Capital District YMCA jobs (all) is $80,252.*
Director – $89,821
Development Director – $79,928
Pilates Instructor – $64,070
Massage Therapist – $57,771
Health Coach – $33,762
Site Supervisor – $33,513
Babysitter/Nanny – $30,992
Member Services Representative – $30,123
Assistant – $26,762
Activity Assistant – $24,325
[Source: https://www.simplyhired.com/salaries-k-capital-district-ymca-jobs.html last accessed on March 4, 2020.]
J David Brown President and CEO $330,633
Gail Glasser SVP Association Advancement $128,192
Mary Pierson SVP and CFO $108,460
[Source: http://nonprofitlight.com/ny/albany/17897-young-mens-christian-association-of-the-capital-district-4416 last accessed on March 4, 2020.]
Not a charity by any standard.
We chose the Capital District YMCA (CDYMCA) for another good reason: In addition to misinforming the public of their status and by not openly disclosing their assets, they are hijacking the legacy of what used to be a real community organization with real values. They have perverted that legacy in many ways, not the least of which is by claiming non-profit status, claiming to be a “charity,” and claiming to “build community,” which they do not do, and cannot truthfully claim to do.
Although the most damning point made in this report is the fact that the CDYMCA has enormous assets and income but doesn’t pay a dime in tax is but one issue we should be outraged by. But the fact that they have the arrogance to target a vulnerable population like our veterans to accrue more profit and feed their greed is downright shameful! Anyone who out of one side of their face will praise the courage and sacrifices made by American veterans should be up in arms about what the CDYMCA has done.
Furthermore, in this election year, Veterans organizations and our elected officials should be taking a very close and critical look at organizations like the CDYMCA claiming “non-profit” or “charity” status, while holding tens of millions in assets, while the rest of us are paying taxes through our noses!
Think about that, why don’t you? Leave a comment about what you think about this situation.
And if you haven’t read our original article about the slashing of the veterans discount, read it here: YMCA DISGRACE!!! Veterans targeted by YMCA action.
Yes, it’s an election year! We will be contacting legislators and veterans organizations about this outrageous abuse of veterans by the Capital District YMCA, and we’ll be reporting back to our readers about the politicians’ responses, if any, and the response of the organizations who claim to stand for veterans’ interests. Stay tuned!
 Source: RCS residents approved school budget, elected Board of Ed candidates, https://www.spotlightnews.com/news/2019/05/21/rcs-residents-approved-school-budget-elected-board-of-ed-candidates/
 Sources: Albany NY Nonprofit Organizations, https://www.albany.com/local-community-services/nonprofits/; Nonprofit & 501c Organizations Albany County Ny https://www.taxexemptworld.com/organizations/albany-county-ny-new-york.asp?spg=2
 We do note in all fairness that a YMCA membership may entitle the member to use any Y in the country, at the discretion of the host Y.
 And to be fair, they do have their exorbitant, outrageous executive salaries to pay out of that income, as well as their employee wages, and benefits. But they’re still making a killing! And not paying a dime in tax.