Mike Bloomberg—not only our selfless, dollar-a-year salary mayor, but a massive philanthropist, too. What's not to like? Well, how about the fact that his charitable foundation doesn't want to pay taxes here, in the United States of America?
The New York Observer today publishes an extensive investigation of the finances of the Bloomberg Family Foundation. Among its more disturbing findings:
- "By the end of 2008, the Bloomberg Family Foundation had transferred almost $300 million into various offshore destinations," including tax havens like the Cayman Islands and Bermuda. Investing in offshore hedge funds is a technically legal way to avoid taxes, but a terrible example for the mayor of New York City to set.
- One of the Cayman Islands hedge fund the Foundation invested in is headquartered in a building that Barack Obama once called "the biggest tax scam in the world."
- The foundation has asked for and received permission for city workers and the Mayor's City Hall staffers to do foundation work on city time, presumably because that work would benefit the city. Did it? Not as far as anyone can tell!
- Bloomberg gave more than $1.8 billion to the foundation in its first three years. The foundation gave away a mere $67 million—none of it to groups that directly benefit NYC, according to the Observer. (Although Bloomberg did spend $45 million on a headquarters building, which was probably great for some real estate agent).
- Nobody will speak publicly about these investments.