Lawsuit filed against Jefferson County Assessment District – Orange Leader
Law firm Brent Coon and & Associates today filed the first of what will likely be a series of highly contested and politicized lawsuits against the Jefferson County Assessment District over commercial property taxes assessed by the District of Jefferson County. valuation for 2021. The firm represents the interests of BIDCO, which owns several commercial properties in Jefferson County.
Brent Coon, the founder of the law firm Brent Coon and Associates and the principal shareholder of the plaintiff property management company, BIDCO, says the appraisal district used a new fraudulent scheme to assess the assessed values of commercial properties in all of Jefferson County which in some cases resulted in an increase in real estate appraisals of over 1000% in a single year. The lawsuit argues that the appraisal district carried out the appraisals for the first time this year by creating a new “formula” that was not based on historical methods of what similarly located properties had sold in recent years. , but on a fictitious “projection” of what the properties have generated in rental income. He further contends that the reason JCAD changed the methodology in an attempt to justify the new tariff structure was to “offset” the billions of dollars that JCAD reduced the valuations of many petrochemical and industrial property owners across the country. county. .
“This brand new platform for creating taxable value through estimated rental income is a fraud and a fiction. The appraisal district used this new methodology without ANY basic information on why the properties were leased or if they were even leased. Some of the buildings assessed this way have no tenants, and others are only partially occupied and at subsidized rates due to the chronic supply and demand issues that have hampered the development of Jefferson County for decades ” , Coon explains.
“Our firm filed the first-class appeal against this assessment district several years ago at the request of City Councilor Mike Getz, who had pleaded for more transparency in the assessment process. We have already found a wide range of questionable appraisal processes, including excluding properties from formulas that had sold for below average prices per foot of others, which essentially artificially pushed appraisals to ‘other properties in the same area at a higher price than actual market conditions.
“We compared ratings with other commercial property owners during this valuation cycle and were able to clearly establish a widespread pattern of fraudulent calculation methods that have taken buildings historically valued at a value. and now artificially inflated it to valuations several times higher than just last year. Many examples of properties valued at $ 1.5 million last year and over $ 8 million this year. One of our properties, which has historically been valued at less than $ 1 million, including last year, suddenly jumped to $ 2.5 million this year, a 300% increase in one year. This was, despite the fact that the only comparable sales for the region in recent years indicated that valuations should have gone down, and certainly not tripled from the previous year. It would be like your house was valued at $ 150,000 last year, then $ 500,000 by the appraisal district this year, or other properties they’ve scammed, a million dollars.
“Not only is the new calculation method a fraud and a fiction, it is clearly UNCONSTITUTIONAL. The law expressly prohibits a tax authority from using two different methodologies for the same properties in the same area in order to choose the one for which it can extract the highest valuation, regardless of the extent of fraud it has. designs to get the number. We have worked behind the scenes with the owners of a number of other commercial properties since these new appraisals were sent to mailboxes and we know for a fact that our lawsuit is the first in a wave that will soon hit the local courthouse. We also know that the Assessment District has gone to great lengths to try to cover this up by going back to anyone who is likely to sue and negotiate deals to avoid negative exposure. The cat is already out of the bag, so what the Assessment District is doing now to try to sweep it under the rug is going to be too late. We will have the right to know what they did, when they did it, why they did it and who else knew about it. We find it misleading to believe that the evaluation district designed this program without the implicit or express knowledge of others who would benefit from it, which includes school districts, drainage districts and other stakeholders. .
“The Assessment District came back to us at the very last minute and tried to get us to accept a much better offer on a reduced assessment if we dropped the continuation of this lawsuit. It won’t happen now if they lower the valuation to zero. We’re going to get to the bottom of this fraudulent scheme and expose it for what it is and find out who all were involved in this decision-making process. The citizens and business owners of Jefferson County deserve to have transparency and honesty in all government offices, and we’ll highlight where we believe there are systemic models of corruption. , incompetence, cronyism and contempt for legal mandates.