Redding owes luxury retirement community millions for ‘excessive’ property appraisals

REDDING — A nearly nine-year legal battle over the tax assessment of the Meadow Ridge retirement community may be over following a ruling by a state Superior Court judge earlier this month.

Superior Court Judge John Cordani found the city’s valuation of the property “excessive” but said those submitted by Redding Life Care’s multiple expert witnesses at a trial in December were “unreliable”. The municipal authorities have not yet decided whether they will file an appeal.

In a lawsuit filed in June 2013, Redding Life Care, LLC claimed the city owed the company money after it misjudged the value of its sprawling 136-acre campus in Redding the previous year – collecting an excessive amount of property taxes between 2012 and 2016.

The city collected the taxes based on an assessment of $112.5 million; but in an appeal to the Redding Board of Assessors in February 2013, the retirement community owner claimed his land, which includes nearly 800,000 square feet of buildings, was worth $84 million, according to documents judicial.

The court, however, made its own calculation, “to arrive at a final valuation … of $92,367,043, which the court rounded to $92 million,” reads a copy of the judge’s decision. of February 4.

“Certainly there was a judgment that the city’s valuation was high, but there was also a ‘judgment’ that the owner’s valuation was too low,” Redding’s first coach Julia said on Thursday. Pemberton.

With 415 apartments spread over 136 acres in Redding, Meadow Ridge is the city’s largest employer and biggest taxpayer.

According to Pemberton, the new court-ordered assessment means Redding Life Care owes the city about $2.5 million, but the judge has yet to dictate how that amount would be paid.

“Is it an overall loss and are we disappointed? Yes,” she added. “But overall the city’s assessment was slightly on the upside.”

Pemberton noted the court case, which began months before voters elected her in November 2013, and “was an experiment” that even included hiring a private investigator to track down a “key witness across the country to file it and who went to the Supreme Court.”

According to court documents filed last fall, the city’s private investigator eventually caught up with David Salinas in Florida to issue him a subpoena for a scheduled deposition in January 2015.

Subsequently, Salinas, who had been hired by Redding Life Care to perform real estate appraisals in 2010 and 2011 that showed higher appraisals than court cases, filed a petition for a protective order in Connecticut Superior Court for prohibit testimony.

After a series of appeals, the state Supreme Court took up the case, quashing the request for a protective order and pointing to the deposition process, which would allow it to object to questions specific before a trial court could decide what, if anything, it needed to answer.

“As it stands, Salinas is asking this court to decide this issue in a vacuum,” Judge Arnold W. Aronson wrote in the ruling.

Ultimately, Salinas’ testimony would not be included in the trial, which took place over three days in early December.

Now, with the Feb. 4 judgment in place, the city must decide whether or not to file an appeal on the matter by Feb. 24, but the Council of Councilors and city attorneys have yet to decide. move forward, Pemberton said Thursday.

“We are carefully considering the decision before making a decision,” she added.

A spokesperson for Redding Life Care declined to comment.

The next scheduled court date is February 28.

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