Mike Bloomberg’s idea of charity still stops at U.S. taxpayers. The latest filings for the mega-foundation run by New York’s richest resident shows that he pumped a whopping $420 million last year into his do-gooder operation — cue the cheers! — while parking $75 million in offshore tax havens — Hiss! Boo!
You don’t have to be a card-carrying Bloomberg Basher to think this is the bigger part of the story. Even the mayor’s own Bloomberg News carries the Associated Press’s story today by Sarah Kugler Frazier with a lede emphasizing the tax dodge:
“Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s money managers invested more than $75 million of his money in offshore tax havens in 2009, according to his philanthropic foundation’s latest tax forms, continuing an activity seemingly at odds with his public statements about the economy.”
The response from City Hall spokesman Stu Loeser is that this is all designed for the public good: The mayor “pays an enormous amount in taxes, but his foundation’s investment strategy, like those of many other large foundations, is designed to maximize the amount of money going to charity,” Loeser told the AP.
The most detailed account of the mayor’s offshore charitable tax dodging ran in April’s Observer by Aram Roston. The Observer gloriously described how one of Bloomberg’s deposits ended up in a post office box in Grand Cayman Island at a building called Ugland House where thousands of off-shore corporations are housed. In his 2008 campaign, Barack Obama made these tax hideaways a major target, citing Ugland House and its thousands of tenants as “either the biggest building in the world, or the biggest tax scam in the world. And I think we know which one it is.”
Since the Bloomberg promoters are again floating the notion of a 2012 presidential run, they might consider how the often-bilious billionaire’s Ugland House deposits are going to play in a national election.