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Verdeen Newton, Doris Butler, and Pauline Newman

July 18, 2012

This post is the work of the manager of the blog.

On June 21, 2012, at 8:00 AM, I had my ARB hearing. ARB members were Verdean Newton, Doris Butler, and Pauline Newman. The appraiser’s last name was Johnson. The hearing was uneventful until after the appraiser gave his testimony and it was my turn to reply. The appraiser had claimed that a comparable property I had highlighted was not in my neighborhood, and I was explaining he was in error, that the owner and resident of that property serves with me on the board of our neighborhood’s homeowner’s association. At that point the head of the ARB panel interrupted me and started defending what he said.

  • She was out of order for interrupting me when I had the floor, rather than waiting until I was finished, a breach of procedure. She was also taking up my time to talk.
  • Both her eagerness to interrupt me and her actively arguing the appraiser’s position for him show that she was not being impartial as she is required to be, she actively took HCAD’s side in the discussion.

When the ARB were deliberating on the value of my home, Doris Butler stated “I voted to keep the HCAD value, because the value went down last year.” This statement was in error. In 2011, my market value was $285,000, in 2012 it is $323,491, so it actually went up. I raised my hand to point out this crucial error on which she was basing her entire decision (which I had already presented in my evidence), and the head of the ARB very rudely said “YOU have NOTHING more to say.” I tried to further explain, she would not even give me a chance. I think it is interesting to look up the makeup of the ARB members. I looked up their appraisal values on HCAD.org.

Butler Doris 3025 DREW ST # 1. 2011 Value: $43,850. 2012 Value: $43,850

Bulter Doris 5423 MADDEN LN. 2011 Value: $48,572. 2012 Value: $38,217

Newman Pauline 943 S VICTORY DR. 2011 Value: $30,023. 2012 Value: $25,000

Newton Verdeen 11963 CONIFER SPRINGS CT. 2011 Value: $81,535. 2012 Value: $72,726

These were all the listings I could find on the HCAD website corresponding to the names of the members of my ARB panel. If these are not the properties of the members of my panel, then that means the members of my panel are not homeowners in Harris County, and have no business deciding the property values of actual Harris County homeowners. If these are the panel members’ properties, that is concerning as well. These properties are all significantly below the average Harris County home price of $130,000. This isanexample of why these panel members are not representative of Harris County property owners and at the very least, should not be placed together in an ARB panel. This information leads me to believe that these members may have a bias against homeowners like me whose property value is significantly above theirs, assume that we are wealthy enough to weather any tax increase, no matter how arbitrary. I also noticed that all of these properties save the first (which has remained steady) have all gone down in value by at least 10% from last year.There seems to be an interesting correlation between being a member of the ARB and receiving a favorable tax appraisal. Last, I should point out that all the members of the ARB panel were women. All members of the ARB panel were African-Americans, as was the appraiser in the hearing. It seems very odd to me that in a county that is 58.7% white, 50% male, and the median home vale is $130,000, that such a group of people that were so very much NOT representative of the demographic of Harris County in their makeup would be put together. I filed complaints, the complaint against Ton is still being investigated. The ARB sent back a very perfunctory letter saying they investigated and there was no wrong doing – did not even specifically address my complaints or provide quotations of written procedure to justify itself. Basically, a form letter. I have fired back with another letter demanding all documentation of ARB’s alleged “investigation”

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