The story of Jefferson County PVA Tony Lindauer and his triple-tract in the Triangle

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So how did Jefferson County PVA Tony Lindauer fare in the latest round of property assessments in one of the highest-taxed districts in Louisville? Did he get socked with a 100% increase on his property like some of his neighbors?  Or was his increase a lot lower?

I think you already know the answer.

Mr. Lindauer doesn’t just live on any old Highlands street – he lives on Everett Avenue in Cherokee Triangle.  A tree-lined street with a mix of grand, old houses and charming cottages. Gabled roofs, turrets, dormers.  Front steps as wide as a Volvo.  A neighborhood that is home to Jack Fry’s and Lilly’s, where a 25-year-old hipster waiter will ask if you have reservations when every table in the dining room is completely empty and then, smugly inform you that truffle oil is used to prepare the french fries.

You get the idea.

This is a very special little neighborhood that used to be dotted with reasonably-priced properties – a bungalow here, a shotgun there on tiny but tidy lots.  Not anymore.  Mr. Lindauer, Mayor Greg Fischer and their assessment goons have seen to it that once-affordable properties are now out of reach of the families who have been hanging on to them for decades.  If you’re retired or disabled and depending on a monthly $1000-ish check from Social Security, this latest round of shocking property assessments will, with absolute certainty, push you out of the Highlands.  I’m sure that’s one big reason for this assessment push.

Absolutely sure.

Some lucky people, however, are avoiding outrageous property value increases of 30, 50 and sometimes more than 100 percent that will mean completely unmanageable property tax bills.  Tony Lindauer, Jefferson County Property Valuation Administrator, happens to be one of them.

In 2001 Mr. Lindauer and his wife purchased three tracts of land in Cherokee Triangle: 1070, 1072 and 1074 Everett Avenue.  That’s THREE TRACTS of prime Highlands real estate which included 0.38 acres and a house for just $180,000.  If you don’t know about property values in Cherokee Triangle, let me tell you a secret: $180,000 was a super bargain even in 2001.

Here are screenshots of the house and the deed…

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lindauer15Mr. Linaduer’s super-sized lot is represented in blue.  The red lines represent the property boundaries of surrounding lots.

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Today, 14 years later, the land, 0.38 acres, has been assessed at just $75,000 which is very, very, VERY cheap compared to the land value (just land, not dwelling) of his neighbors.

Mr. Lindauer’s 0.38 acres is worth $75,000 which is comparable to $200,000 an acre. (Actually, $197,368 but I’m trying to keep the numbers simple.) 

Here are screenshots of his deed (Deed book/page 0902 0853) in 2007 when those three lots were consolidated into one parcel of land with a fair market value of $50,000.  $50,000?  REALLY?

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Let’s look at the assessed value of  Mr. Lindauer’s neighbor at 1076 Everett Avenue:

0.0877 acres is valued at $75,000 which is  $855,188 per acre or over 4 times the assessed value of Lindauer’s land.

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Below is the assessment information for another Lindauer neighbor at 1077 Everett Avenue.

0.0733 acres valued at $75,000 which is $1,023,192 per acre or over 5 times the value of Mr. Lindauer’s land.

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The acreage of these lots is calculated to the fourth decimal place.  Why is there such an precise measurement of the land if PVA is simply going to proclaim that any lot, any size, anywhere on Everett is worth $75,000?  Who benefits from that kind of fast and loose assessment of land value?  It looks like Mr. Lindauer, the PVA, does.  And who gets punished with disproportionately higher taxes for a flat-fee land assessment?  The little people, that’s who.  And we all remember what Leona Helmsley, the Queen of Mean, said about the little people and taxes.

Finally, we have 1081 Everett Avenue which pretty much sums up everything that’s wrong with the way the PVA is performing these assessments:

0.0654 acres valued at $75,000 which is $1,146,789 per acre or almost 6 times the value of Lindauer’s triple-tract-redefined-as-single-tract:

lindauer6The land value for this property tripled and the dwelling value almost doubled in three years on what was once a very affordable home.  Easily within reach of a family with a modest income.  According to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s website (the sheriff’s office collects the taxes), this house qualified for a homestead exemption prior to its sale in February 2015 for $70,000. I know  Too many details. But that tells you that the people who lived here were either retired or were disabled which is something you should know and think about.  Remember what I said earlier about pushing out the old people?  I’ll bet the real estate speculators that swirl around Mayor Fischer with their big, fat contributions are already salivating over all of the properties that will be on the market this summer and fall before those crushing tax bills are due.

Back to 1081 Everett.  This house is now worth $164,980. For a wood frame shotgun.  On 0.0654 acres.  The land increased by 200% in 3 years.  The dwelling increased by 66% in 3 years.  I know people like the Highlands which boosts home values but give me a break.  This is a shakedown and nothing more.  Shame on the PVA and Mayor Fischer for making this happen.

lindauer7Below is a screenshot of assessments for Mr. Lindauer’s house.

Why did it take 11 years for Lindauer’s land value to increase by 200% even though 1081 Everett’s land value increased 200% in just 3 years?

Why did it take 11 years for Mr. Lindauer’s dwelling to increase by 61% but his neighbor’s increased 66% in 2 years? That doesn’t seem very equitable.

Why has Lindauer’s dwelling increased by only 11% with this latest round of assessments?

And why isn’t Lindauer’s land value assessed at a higher rate since it’s triple the size of a typical Everett lot?

lindauer8Does being the Jefferson County PVA comes with certain financial benefits?  Tax benefits?  Tax fraud-y benefits?

When you unleash a mooching machine on Louisville property owners while allowing the mayor, his rich campaign contributors and family members to receive six-figure discounts on their property assessments, you need to be very careful with how your property is assessed.

Mr. Lindauer has not been very careful.  And let me tell you another little secret: I think he’s a big jerk.  Look at what he said the other day about these assessments:

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One last question. Okay, two.  Why was the enormous half-acre lot at the corner of Grinstead and Cherokee recently assessed at just $37,500 when it was worth $78,750 in 2008? Neighbors with 0.1 acre lots have been assessed at $90,000.  Is the land cheap because the owners are generous contributors to Mayor Fischer’s campaigns?

I think I’ll get right on that.

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Click on the screenshot below to be redirected to the Jefferson County PVA website to begin your property assessment appeal process. You don’t have much time left to submit your appeal.  GOOD LUCK, READERS!

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