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Court upholds property tax assessments of Kokomo Mall

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The Indiana Tax Court Wednesday affirmed the decision by the state Board of Tax Review to reduce Kokomo Mall LLC’s commercial property assessments for the 2007-2009 tax years.

Three parcels are at issue in Howard County Assessor v. Kokomo Mall, LLC, 49T10-1109-TA-56. Parcel 20, which contains the mall and a movie theatre, was assessed at nearly $7 million in 2007, all three parcels at more than $8.23 million in 2008, and all three parcels at more than $7.4 million in 2009.

Kokomo Mall appealed and presented an appraisal completed in conformance with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice valuing Parcel 20 at $4.96 million in 2007, and all three parcels at $6.08 million in 2008 and $3.99 million in 2009. The assessor claimed the mall’s evidence was riddled with errors and unreliable. She claimed the appraisal failed to comply with USPAP because it lacked transparency and did not use sufficiently reliable data in estimating the subject property’s value.

In 2011, the Indiana Board of Tax Review found, despite certain errors, that the mall’s evidence was probative as to the property’s market value-in-use and, therefore, it had presented a prima facie case that its assessments were incorrect.

The board found Parcel 20 should be assessed at a little more than $6.2 million for 2007, all three parcels at $6.08 million for 2008 and at $3.99 for 2009.

The assessor appealed, arguing that the finding the mall made a prima facie case must be reversed. The Tax Court heard arguments in April 2012.

The assessor claimed that the board did not adequately scrutinize Kokomo Mall’s unreliable evidence, but simply deferred to the appraiser’s testimony and adopted her appraisal even though it did not comply with USPAP. But Senior Judge Thomas Fisher pointed out the assessor has done nothing more than invite the court to ignore the established rule that it may not reweigh evidence nor judge the credibility of the witnesses who testified before the board.

The assessor also wants the court to reconsider the policy arising from caselaw that the mere presentation of a USPAP appraisal establishes a prima facie case.

“Even assuming arguendo that such a policy exists, the administrative record in this case reveals that the Indiana Board’s ability to independently gauge the qualitative value of the evidence and select the evidence that best reflects a property’s market value-in-use was not impeded,” Fisher wrote. “Furthermore, the Court finds that the decision to hire an appraiser or submit a USPAP compliant appraisal is more likely a litigation strategy, not the latent result of a purportedly inequitable policy.”
 
 

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  1. As one of the many consumers affected by this breach, I found my bank data had been lifted and used to buy over $200 of various merchandise in New York. I did a pretty good job of tracing the purchases to stores around a college campus just from the info on my bank statement. Hm. Mr. Hill, I would like my $200 back! It doesn't belong to the state, in my opinion. Give it back to the consumers affected. I had to freeze my credit and take out data protection, order a new debit card and wait until it arrived. I deserve something for my trouble!

  2. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  3. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  4. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

  5. Different rules for different folks....

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