A New York Times writer is reporting that a San Francisco County assessor is retaliating against a taxpayer for public comments made against the assessor.
Apparently San Francisco resident Jon Stuber was quoted in Scott James’ New York Times blog about the questionable policies of San Francisco assessor-recorder Phil Ting.
Wrote James: “Last October, in my first column published in The New York Times, Jon Stuber complained about Mr. Ting’s decision to raise annual assessments on properties by two percent for January 1, 2009, even though property values were mostly down at that time.
Mr. Stuber, a friend, and thousands of other property owners were forced to navigate the city’s Byzantine system to appeal what they believed were erroneous assessments.
Last week Mr. Stuber’s appeal was heard.
And unlike any of the other four appellants who came to be heard that day, he seemed to be singled out for a public grilling by a representative of Mr. Ting’s office. While all the other cases in the afternoon session on May 6 were amicable and settled within as little as six minutes with taxpayers receiving vast assessment reductions based on the market downturn, Mr. Stuber faced what felt like a prosecution for half an hour.
Teresa Contro, a senior appraiser for Mr. Ting, said there should be no reduction and argued instead that Mr. Stuber’s home was under assessed and should actually be valued at $650,000 – $40,000 more than he paid for it at the height of the market in 2007.
In no other case that afternoon did the assessor argue that a property’s value had soared in January 2009. In fact, housing market reports generally concur that prices were at nearly their lowest point in the past six years at that time. An analysis of sales data by Zillow.com shows that condominiums in the Mission, like Mr. Stuber’s, had lost 15.6 percent of their peak value.”
Read the full column here.