wtf? Hamilton County Auditor: 16 Elmhurst Place (River High)

I swear, I do not look for these examples.  Not from day one did I set out to challenge Dusty Rhodes or find fault with the way he does his job.  I just started to notice things.  And then other people did too – and they started to send me tips.

Bow Tweh’s recent coverage in the Cincinnati Enquirer of the Everything But the House sale on Melody Sawyer Richardson’s possessions from her former home was the most recent catalyst.  Like any good nosey-butt-in-ski, first I stopped by the online auction site to check-out the bargains.  But these days when I see a sale price on an expensive home, I immediately go tothe Hamilton County Auditor’s website to check out the valuation. image 16 Elmhurst Place is a beautiful home. 21 rooms. 6 bedrooms. 10,167 square feet of finished space with 9 fireplaces, 3 1/2 baths (new owner will be adding to these, I bet) and a 3 car garage on 1.278 acres with a river view. It sold to an undisclosed owner represented by trustee Peter E. Koenig at the end of last year for $3,235,000. image

And the Auditor’s opinion on this property as recently as this fall’s triennial update? $2,050,420.

Dusty was only off by a little over 57%! Fifty-seven percent. Not 10%. Not 20%. A 57% difference between the actual market value in an arm’s length transaction and the value assigned by the appraisers Dusty has hired over the years.

The Hamilton County Auditor says I am “the little boy who cried wolf”? I don’t think so, Dusty – and the most troubling aspect of this situation is that the elected official with the fiduciary responsibility to ensure a fair application of existing law has never once asked what concerns me about his valuations though I have tried to start the conversation many times. The only thing he seems to care about is discrediting my qualification to question his numbers.

I’ve been stumbling across these valuation issues for the last few months, not all that long, and I certainly haven’t been analyzing the situation on any kind of scientific basis, but here are the patterns of under-valuation I’ve noticed to date:

1. Any commercial property owned by Western & Southern and the LLCs they control. 2. Residential properties over a million dollars in value. 3. Any property owned by the Lindner families or the Barrett family and their close associates. 4. All commercial property in the Central Business District, values of which have been dropping precipitously – particularly since the opening of Queen City Square.

This is far from a complete list – but it is enough to keep me going, determined that the current situation is corrected and property tax laws applied on a fair and equal basis.

5 thoughts on “wtf? Hamilton County Auditor: 16 Elmhurst Place (River High)

    1. executivedreamer Post author

      I’m working as fast as I can, Paul. But remember I’m just one little person, learning as I go. This research takes a huge amount of time. I decided to share as I go.- working-note style. That way more smart people can share views and information.

  1. chris l

    Kathy, its not hard to find examples like this. Just check out recent sales high worth properties in hyde park, indian hill, etc and you’ll find plenty of examples of recent sale prices that are 50% over their appraised amount. But I’m not sure if this is more or less common for high worth properties as it is for average properties in an area that is seeing demand. I think you’ll find lots the same examples of tax situations like with with moderately priced properties in OTR(and probably east side neighborhoods too). I’m thinking there may be a factor that you/we are missing? Do you know the factors that make up a properties appraisal amount? I don’t think your analysis so far shows the patterns you mentioned at the end of this post.

    1. executivedreamer Post author

      Chris, you’re absolutely right. My analysis to date does not show the patterns I suggest. I’m getting tired and impatient – unsure how to clearly reflect what I’m seeing property by property. One at a time seems so inefficient. I’m overwheled by the amount of data. Any ideas as to how to get this job done? I want to get it fixed.

    2. executivedreamer Post author

      As far as the decline in commercial office properties in CBD is concerned, it is directly tied to Great American Tower coming on line. Residential – I’ve owned 5 houses in Cincy -and mine have always been farly valued. Lowered valations start around 2000. I’m looking at this as a revenue stream -and though I’ve found $50,000 homes that are undervalued – from the standpoint of paying the bills our priority as a city has to be where we get the biggest bang for the buck – high end properties. How about if I show the pattern on one of my examples and simply list the properties owned by Western & Southern in their name? I’ll do it next week.


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