Costco will begin taking food stamps

By John O'Brien | May 29, 2009

NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - Costco will begin accepting food stamps at its two New York City locations after a letter from state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo reminded the company that it better.

Costco said Wednesday it will comply as soon as it has the technoloogy to do so, a Reuters report says. A week ago, the New York City comptroller asked the company to accept food stamps because of the state of the economy, the report adds.

Cuomo wrote the company Wednesday, noting that the company's next store was made possible by $60 million in tax-exempt loans and bonds.

"I have personal experience with the Empowerment Zone Program and its purpose," Cuomo wrote.

"The public monies are designed specifically to improve local communities and assist local residents, not to exclude them from being able to enjoy the ultimate benefits of the development.

As such, Costco's policy of refusing to accept food stamps from the approximately 30,000 residents of East Harlem who receive food stamps violates the clear design and purpose of the community development benefits received by this project."

Cuomo threatened legal action if Costco didn't change its practices, and also said he would seek a repayment of the Empowerment Zone benefits it received.

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at john@legalnewsline.com.

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