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Report Marcos Owes $1 Million in Taxes on Manhattan Townhouse

February 3, 1986

NEW YORK (AP) _ Nearly $1 million in taxes is owed on a plush, Upper East Side townhouse maintained by Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos and his wife and containing $10 million worth of art, furniture and antiques, according to published reports.

The newspaper said the Philippine government has yet to answer city tax notices for $996,000, the Daily News reported in its editions today.

The News said Mayor Edward I. Koch had ordered an investigation to find out whether the Philippine first family owes the city that money, and threatens to seize the townhouse if it is not paid.

″Remember, we in the city have the right to foreclose on property on which taxes are not paid,″ Koch said.

An unidentified Philippine government spokesman insisted the townhouse at 13-15 E. 66th St., off Fifth Avenue, is a government ″guest house,″ but the U.S. State Department said it has no listing of any official Philippine establishment at that address, the News said.

At one time the building housed the Philippine Consulate, which has been relocated to 556 Fifth Ave. Under federal law, the 66th Street building should have reverted to the tax rolls as taxable private property, the News said.

The News said workmen who had been inside the house claimed that Mrs. Marcos is using the townhouse as a gallery for millions of dollars worth of antiques, art and bric-a-brac.

The News added that published reports indicate that the collection is worth $10 million.

A spokesman for the city told the News the Philippine government has never applied for a tax waiver or exemption, which could only be permitted if the residence were used for a legitimate diplomatic purpose.

The city therefore has a right to seize the building for nonpayment of taxes, Ronald Mloteck, chief counsel to the State Department’s Office of Foreign Missions in Washington, told the News.

Marcos is involved in a bitter re-election campaign that ends Friday. One of the issues is his lavish lifestyle and millions of dollars he reputedly invested in American real estate.

Rep. Stephen Solarz, D-N.Y., said the Philippine government has $350 million invested in New York real estate, including three major office buildings, a shopping center in Manhattan and a Long Island estate.