Settlement reached in county property tax case
A settlement has been reached between El Dorado County and a business claiming to offer tax breaks to property owners.
Scott Jay Campbell of California Tax Appeal will pay El Dorado County $30,000. According to the terms of the agreement, Campbell will pay a civil penalty of $15,000; $5,000 in attorney fees to the county’s District Attorney’s office; and $10,000 in investigative costs to the county assessor.
“We’ve had lengthy negotiations for the past couple of months,” said Deputy District Attorney Paul Sutherland. “This settlement by no means compensates El Dorado County but it got to the point it was an appropriate settlement.”
The private appraisal company had been operating in El Dorado County for approximately eight months. Mailers were sent to home owners that claimed their parcel may have been wrongly assessed. CTA provided “comparable sales” data – in return for a $49.50 fee – that measured the said property against others in the county with similar features.
The county accused Campbell of breaking several sections of the state’s Business and Professions Code with penalties ranging from $2,500 to $6,000 for the violations.
Sutherland said Campbell was one of 20 licensees who worked with a Fallbrook, Calif. company. The franchise business provided the data and sent out the mailers to the public. Any responses in El Dorado County came to Campbell.
“We do intend to pursue further legal action at the civil level against the Fallbrook franchise,” Sutherland said. “According to Mr. Campbell, all of the 20 licensees have left because of dissatisfaction.”
CTA was also sued by Ventura County in Southern California. Campbell settled out of court for $10,000.
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