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Nixon releases taxes; Cuomo's Democratic state committee demands more

Michael Mroziak

Actor Cynthia Nixon, who is running for governor in a Democratic primary against incumbent Andrew Cuomo, released her tax filings on Friday. She and her spouse earned $1.9 million last year and paid nearly $200,000 in taxes.

Nixon initially filed for a six-month extension, but a few days ago, she completed and submitted her taxes.

The star of the Sex and the City television show and other film and stage productions owns her own company, The Fickle Mermaid. It is listed on tax forms as an S-corporation, a common practice among actors that allows them to deduct more items as expenses and set up pension plans for themselves. She reported that just over $1 million was paid to the company in 2017. From that, Nixon paid herself $400,000.

Her wife, Christine Marinoni, made about $128,000 working for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration, a job she has since left. They claimed their two children as dependents. The couple also declared nearly $129,000 in capital gains from investments. They made over $185,000 from the sale of a condo in Montauk, and claimed about $85,000 in depreciation from another rental unit.

The couple also paid $6,792 in taxes for domestic help.

Nixon’s campaign, in a statement, said Nixon has enjoyed “good fortune” and that she readily admits that she is “among the higher earners in the state” but “believes the wealthy should pay their fair share.”

Nixon and Marinoni also run a family foundation, which lists $979,581 in assets. They gave their largest contribution of $15,000 to a public policy fund run by Citizen Action, one of the progressive groups that endorsed Nixon.

Karen Scharff, the director of Citizen Action, said the donation had no influence on the group’s decision to back Nixon for governor. She said her group has been working with Nixon on school funding equity issues since the early 2000s.

“Citizen Action has a very thorough endorsement process,” Scharff said. “We know Cynthia well because she’s been our partner for 17 years in fighting for public schools.”

Scharff said the $15,000 donation is just a small part of the public policy fund’s $3.5 million budget. And she said the donation to Nixon may even have cost her group money.

As many have heard, the governor has threatened to go after our funding,” Scharff said. “And the governor’s impact on our funding from lots of other sources means that our endorsement decision is going to cost us a lot of money.”

Cuomo’s campaign has denied that the governor threatened to cut off the funding for progressive groups that back Nixon.

Nixon and Marinoni’s foundation also donated $200 to public radio.

Nixon’s tax disclosures set off another round of sniping between her campaign and that of Cuomo.

Cuomo in New York City on Friday repeated his contention that releasing one year of taxes is not enough. And he said past governors, including George Pataki and Eliot Spitzer, released multiple years of returns.

“I released more than 10 years of taxes,” said Cuomo, who added it’s important to do so for “transparency.”

“It has been a long-established practice,” he said.

Cuomo’s tax forms, released in mid-April, shows he made about $212,000 last year. He lives with Food Network star Sandra Lee, whose net worth has been estimated at $20 million. Lee is not married to Cuomo and files her own taxes privately.

Nixon’s aides said that Cuomo left something out when he said he released 10 years of tax returns when he first ran for office. Cuomo did not release his tax filings in 2010, the year he first ran for governor, until a month after elections. He also delayed releasing his taxes in 2006, when he ran for attorney general.

Cuomo said he may have delayed filing his taxes, but he released key information in them before the elections in those years.

Late in the day, the Democratic State Committee, which is controlled by Cuomo, issued a new rule. It says anyone vying for the Democratic line on the ballot in a race for statewide office will be required to release 10 years of tax returns. 

Marc Molinaro, the presumptive Republican candidate for governor, released his tax forms on Thursday. They show Molinaro and his wife, Corinne Adams, earned $174,048 last year, the bulk of it from his salary as Dutchess County executive. They paid nearly $24,573 in taxes.

They received $27,000 in rent from a second house that they own in the village of Red Hook, for which they claimed a $15,764 loss for depreciation of the property. They also gave $1,000 to charity.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. WBFO listeners are accustomed to hearing DeWitt’s insightful coverage throughout the day, including expanded reports on Morning Edition.