Since last we mentioned those country club suits filed against the Dallas Central Appraisal District over their respective valuations, dozens more have popped up, including complaints filed in recent days by the owners of the Ritz-Carlton on McKinney, Schepps Dairy and myriad other strip centers and big boxes. But this one filed yesterday stuck out: Ricchi Development Group LLC and Ricchi 1954 Development LLC v. Dallas Central Appraisal District.
The plaintiff, of course, is the group led by Leobardo Trevino that bought the Statler Hilton and the attached George Dahl-designed central library back in March to much fanfare. As we noted at the time of the sale, Hamsher International Ltd., the longtime out-of-the-country owner, sold the Statler to Ricchi for $13.1 million; the library went for $4.4 million. But as many Friends of Unfair Park pointed out, at the time of the sale the Statler was on the tax rolls for $3.5 million; the library, $1.5 million.
But when Ricchi, which is in the process of gutting the long-vacant buildings, got its new appraisal from DCAD in May, it was stunned: Suddenly, DCAD had valued the Statler at $17,192,500, and the library at $5,004,720. At which point, Ricchi filed a protest and got the valuations knocked down -- to $12,825,000 and $4,275,000, respectively, for a grand total of $17,100,000. And that, says the suit filed yesterday, is no good:
Plaintiff alleges that the adoption and use of such a fundamentally erroneous and unlawful plan for establishing the appraised value of the Property has resulted in a substantially excessive valuation in violation of the Constitution, Property Tax Code and Statutes of the State of Texas which provide that no property shall be accessed at a value greater than its market value.
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The full complaint -- yet again filed by the extremely busy Addison firm of Geary, Porter & Donovan -- follows.