Gov. Matt Bevin has won an appeal over the official value of his mansion on the outskirts of Louisville.
The governor had appealed the official assessment after the Courier-Journal first reported that Bevin paid nearly $1 million less for the property than the county’s estimate of its worth.
Now, the Jefferson County Board of Assessment Appeals says that Bevin’s house and surrounding property is worth $2.15 million instead of the $2.97 million value originally set by the Jefferson County Property Valuation Administrator.
In a one-page ruling, the appeals board said the revised value was “based on appraisal provided by the owner.”
The new value is the same as an appraisal made by John May, a former Jefferson County PVA hired by Bevin’s team.
Bevin purchased the home and surrounding ten acre property for $1.6 million from Neil Ramsey, an investment manager and political donor. Bevin also appointed Ramsey to the Kentucky Retirement Systems board of trustees last summer.
Richard Beliles, chair of Common Cause of Kentucky and Democratic State Rep. Darryl Owens filed complaints with the Executive Branch Ethics Committee over the transaction, alleging that Bevin had improperly used his office to get a deal on the house.
The commission unanimously voted to dismiss the complaints, saying that even if Bevin had gotten a deal on the property, he and Ramsey hadn’t violated any state ethics rules.
Bevin and Ramsey appealed the county’s assessed value of his property, saying that the home was in disrepair due to its age and water damage. The county’s original assessment also included the entire 19 acre lot, of which Bevin only owns 10 acres. It estimated the value of Bevin’s house was $2.1 million and the surrounding 19 acres of land was $875,000.
The appeals board lowered the house’s value to $1.015 million and said Bevin’s surrounding 10 acres is worth $375,000.
Mark Sommer, an attorney representing Bevin and Ramsey, released the ruling on Friday.
In a statement, Sommer said he was pleased with the appeals board’s decision, calling the PVA’s value “arbitrary.”
“The [appeals board] undertook its efforts in this appeal in the solid tradition I have witnessed over my nearly 30 years of practice before them,” Sommers said. “We thank the Board and the County Clerk’s Office for well handling the unprecedented amount of attention and very real distractions this valuation appeal brought.”
Jefferson County Public Valuation Administrator Tony Lindauer could appeal the ruling. His office hasn’t returned a request for comment.