An attorney for Gov. Matt Bevin has filed an appeal of the property valuation that is part of the controversy around the purchase of Bevin’s house in Anchorage.
Bevin said Friday that the appeals process would show that the $1.6 million that Anchorage Place LLC paid for the mansion and 10 surrounding acres is a fair price and would end the controversy, which includes a complaint filed with the state ethics commission.
The Courier-Journal has reported that the sales price appears low when compared to values placed on the mansion — and a larger tract of 19 acres of which the 10 acres were a part of before the sale — by the Jefferson County property valuation administrator.
The first step in the process — a conference with the PVA — has been completed and turned out to be pro forma.
That’s because PVA Tony Lindauer said his office policy, in cases of political officials, is to automatically uphold the value placed on the property so the owner can move the case to the local Board of Assessment Appeals.
The Courier-Journal’s Open Records Act request filed with Lindauer’s office seeking records of the appeal produced just two partially redacted pages of the result of the conference.
Richard Hornung, the attorney representing Anchorage Place and who filed the appeal, said in an email that he has not yet appealed to the board.
“We are still trying to research and understand the PVA’s modifications to the property data after the transfer,” Hornung wrote.
The deadline for filing with the board is Monday.
In March, Anchorage Place bought the mansion and 10 acres from a company controlled by Neil Ramsey, the owner of an investment management firm and an Anchorage city councilman who last year was appointed to the board of the Kentucky Retirement Systems by Bevin.
The governor told WDRB-TV on Friday that he owns Anchorage Place.
On the same day, Bevin told media at an unrelated news conference that the property was worth $1.6 million at most, and he asked reporters to allow the assessment appeal process to play out.
In April, Lindauer’s office placed a new value of $2,974,780 on the greater 19-acre tract of land, including the 10 acres and mansion.
That assessment has two components. First, the mansion and other improvements — all of which are within the 10 acres sold to Anchorage Place — are valued at $2,134,780. Second, the 19 acres are valued at $840,000, which is about $44,210 an acre.
The Courier-Journal has reported that the PVA’s value for just the property sold to Bevin would be about $2.57 million. That combines the value that the PVA places on the mansion and improvements, plus the value of the 10 acres — applying the average value per acre of the 19-acre tract to the 10 acres.
Before the Courier-Journal’s first story about the sale, Bevin and Ramsey declined to respond to questions about it, but each has since said that $1.6 million was fair market value.
On Friday, Bevin said any higher estimate ignores important details.
“It was sold at a price that includes a fraction of the land, none of the road for frontage, tremendous restrictions and easements,” he said. “This is a 150-something-year-old house. It is arguably not even worth what was paid for it.”
Ramsey has said that, although he didn’t appeal an earlier PVA value of $3 million for the greater 19-acre property, he did appeal that value to the city of Anchorage for city and school tax purposes. And an Anchorage board lowered its value on the 19 acres and mansion to $2.2 million in 2016.
The appeal now goes to the local Board of Assessment Appeals. The Jefferson County Clerk’s Office performs the clerical duties for the board, but its members are appointed by the mayor of Louisville.
Members of the board are assigned to panels consisting of three members. Appeals are assigned to one of those three-member panels.