The L.A. developer keeps running into delays. This time it's over a property tax break worth $200,000 a year - the result of reducing the assessed value of the hotel property by $24 million. A Santa Barbara County appeals board has held off approving the break for another month because the information submitted was confusing and incomplete. From the SB Independent:
Two years ago, Caruso had applied for a dramatic reduction in his assessed real estate value, arguing that the recent recession had reduced what his waterfront property was worth from $51 million to $5 million. But even with the market crash, county assessors insisted the property was worth far more than that. After a lengthy -- if mysterious and confidential -- process, they concluded the market value of the Miramar's land and blighted cabins, combined, was $30 million. Caruso agreed, and this Thursday the appeals panel was asked to ratify a stipulated agreement between Caruso and the county to that effect.
Boardmember Donald Rowland objected on arcane legal and procedural grounds. Boardmember Jana Zimmer objected because she hadn't been allowed to see the report justifying the $21 million reduction in value. That report is not available to the public because it contains proprietary information but is available to boardmembers. Zimmer questioned how it was Caruso justified the $5 million he initially said his property was worth. Under her questioning, staff members working for the county assessor acknowledged he provided no data to justify that number and suggested that he had released it merely as a starting point for discussion. Zimmer found that questionable. "They just threw down that number under penalty of perjury?" she asked. Likewise, she noted that $30 million seemed like a good midway point between $5 million and $50 million. "It kind of looks like this has been cut down the middle," she said.