Cabela’s Appraisal Could Go To Court

The Ohio County Board of Review and Equalization heard testimony involving Cabela’s 2009 and 2010 tax years Thursday as ordered by Circuit Judge Ronald Wilson.

Wilson sent the case back to the board because the original testimony was not recorded by a court reporter; it was just put on tape. Testimony involving Ohio County appraiser Jeff Prettyman and the method he used for the original appraisal is being disputed by Cabela’s.

A court reporter was present to record the testimony Thursday.

Ohio County’s commissioners, Randy Wharton, Tim McCormick and Orphy Klempa, sit as the board. Representing the Ohio County Assessor’s Office were Assessor Kathie Hoffman, Prettyman and attorney Patrick Casey. Representing Cabela’s were attorney Mark Williams and an appraiser hired by Williams’ law firm, Jay Goldman.

“Today we’re in compliance with the Ohio County Circuit Court order,” McCormick said. “This is from the judge, ‘While the usual course of appeal would place the burden of production of proof on the appealing taxpayer … we’re going to allow the assessor to move forward with burden of production.’ …

“I am not an attorney,” McCormick continued. “If things start to get out of bounds, I will refer to our counsel” Donald Tennant.

The method Prettyman used, the “cost approach,” assesses the property’s value according to estimates of what it would cost to replace a building if were built today. Cabela’s maintains that an income-based or comparable sales-based approach would be a more accurate way to determine the property’s value.

While the case will now go back to Wilson, it could go on to the state Supreme Court, Hoffman noted.

Meanwhile, representatives of the Wheeling Newspapers appeared to dispute the values for two of its downtown buildings, 1500 Main St. and 1501 Market St.

They told the board they believed the assessed values for those properties were too high and presented recent appraisals to the board.