That move is not playing well around Westchester - so fellow Westchester residents have decided to follow suit and refuse to let the assessor into their own properties:
Westchester County residents joined gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino outside New Castle Town Hall on Thursday, calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to open his home to the town assessor so he could better determine the taxable value of its interior.
New Castle Assessor Phil Platz was denied entrance to Cuomo's home on May 27 when he came for a scheduled inspection, which was sparked by The Journal News investigation of renovations done at 4 Bittersweet Lane since Cuomo's girlfriend, celebrity chef Sandra Lee, purchased it in 2008. The investigation found that the renovations, detailed in numerous national publications, were conducted in 2009 and 2010 without building permits, which would have alerted the assessor of taxable improvements.
The news conference followed the Astorino campaign's robo-call campaign to 1 million homes, accusing Cuomo of getting "caught cheating on his property taxes."
Yonkers homeowner Ralph Volino said he would refuse to let revaluation data collectors from Yonkers into his home until Cuomo opened his door to the New Castle assessor.
Yonkers is moving forward with a citywide revaluation, and data collection could begin later this year.
"I think Governor Cuomo is hiding something," Volino said. "If he's not opening his door, I'm not opening mine."
Yonkers Assessor David Jackson acknowledged that the decision by homeowners to bar data collectors will hurt efforts to obtain accurate assessments, which lead to a fairer property-tax system. Homeowners have the right, however, to deny access to assessors.
"We hope that resonates and those property owners appreciate that the foundation for attaining a fairer property tax in the City of Yonkers is accurate data," Jackson said.
The Cuomo campaign says this is all just about politics:
Cuomo campaign spokesman Peter Kauffmann dismissed the news conference as an Astorino political gambit.They don't seem to realize that Cuomo's refusal to let the tax assessor into his home is not going to play as "politics" and come back to bite GOP opponent Astorino.
"It's now totally clear what we said all along — this is Mr. Astorino's Republican small town politics and what every real Westchester homeowner is saying to Rob Astorino is stop playing politics and lower my taxes," Kauffmann said.
Rather, it's the kind of thing that is going to build resentment against Cuomo - and not just for 2014.
He runs for president in 2016 or 2020, you can bet this tax deadbeat story will come back to haunt him.