Appellate Court Reverses Local Property Tax Decision

September 9, 2014

Ruling Regarding Real Estate Taxes On Leased Lake Property

On Friday, Aug. 29, Justice Welch in the Fifth District Appellate Court of Illinois reversed a Marion County Circuit Court ruling on the real estate tax objection issue by Roger Campbell of Garrison Lane.

The real estate tax issue between Roger Campbell and Marion County officials has been ongoing for several years, since the Supervisor of Assessment Patty Brough’s 2010 fair market value lake assessment, concerning value of the land and other factors.

When an appeal to the Board of Review offered no remedy, Campbell filed a countersuit against the county and Treasurer and Collector Patty Hahn. In the suit, presided by Judge McHaney, appraisals were given by Campbell’s appraiser Jay O’Brist for $174,000 and by the appraiser for Marion County, Russ Sanderson, for $270,000. By  their comments, Sanderson’s appraisal contained the value of the land and the boat dock as property, while O’Brist’s was only leasehold value. Judge McHaney’s ruling was for the lower appraisal.

Appellate Court Justice Welch summed up his ruling with, “Accordingly, we reverse the circuit’s order of May 21, 2013, which expressly adopted O’Brist’s appraisal because that appraisal was improperly based on the value of the leasehold rather than the value of the fee simple estate. Arguing that the only other evidence of value before the court was the testimony of appraiser Sanderson, the appellant, Marion County treasurer and collector, asks that we remand this cause to the circuit court with directions that it enter an order finding that the fair market value of the property for tax purposes is $270,000, in accordance with appraiser Sanderson’s appraisal. Although there was testimony from the Marion County supervisor of assessments, Patty Brough, as to how she assessed the value of the property, we note that  she also testified that the county was satisfied with Sanderson’s appraisal and had offered to settle the case with the taxpayer based on Sanderson’s appraisal. Accordingly, we will grant the appellant’s prayer for relief. This cause is remanded to the circuit court of Marion County with directions that it enter an order establishing the subject property’s fair market value as of January 1, 2010, at $270,000, and enter final judgment thereon We note that appraiser Sanderson included the boat dock as real property in his appraisal of the property.”