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Riverdale Pols Say Cookie Company Owes City

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Local lawmakers are not letting the Bronx-based cookie factory, Stella D'oro go without a fight.

Congressman Eliot Engel, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz and Councilman Oliver Koppell recently drafted a letter to the New York City Department of Finance, asking them stop the company's move to Ohio until taxpayers money that was granted to them in the form of a tax abatement is returned.

The three politicians are also requesting the cookie business not be allowed to take plant machinery with them that they say was purchased and upgraded using taxpayer dollars.

"We feel very strongly that the New York City tax payers should not be outsourced to Ohio," the three said in the letter.

Stella D'Oro was awarded tax abatements under the Industrial Commerical Abatement Program(ICAP).

Brynwood Partners, the Connecticut-based private equity firm that purchased Stella D'Oro from Kraft in 2006, announced earlier this month the sale of the pastry label to Lance Inc., prompting the relocation of production, including the machinery at the Bronx plant, to Ashland, Ohio. The move is set to take place in October.

The letter also references the end of 10 month-long employee strike that came to a close in July after the company was charged with unfair labor practices. Engel, Dinowitz, and Koppell believe the closing of the bakery may have been in retaliation, saying the workers' "sense of justice was short lived."

"We should not be sending our jobs and tax money to Ohio," said Engel. "Brynwood Partners made a coldy calculated that they wanted to break the Union," he added, "and when they lost a National Labor Relations Board decision, they decided to sell out. "

The lawmakers are demanding a temporary restraining order against the sale until the Department of Finance enacts "'claw back' procedures to recoup the tax abatements," that they say "have not been expended in a way beneficial to New York City."

They additionally requested that Lance Inc. be informed of their intentions.

Councilman Koppell hopes the city gets involved.

"It's a longshot but we're trying it," he said.

Read the whole story at Bronx News Network