Chesterton Tribune



Assessor: Williams sought assessment appeal for former Johnson Inn at Porter Beach

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After several inquiries made by the Chesterton Tribune, Porter County Assessor Jon Snyder went on record Thursday to say Pavilion Partners LLC principal Chuck Williams delivered to him on Aug. 31, 2015 a written request to appeal property tax assessments for parcels on the former Johnson Inn property at Porter Beach.

The parcels, five in all, are not owned by Williams however, or at least the Assessorís Office has no record of a sale, Snyder said. Instead, the listed property owner is Johnson Inn Inc. or Carl Dahlin Jr.

The Tribune was following up a tip alleging that Williams himself had filed an appeal on the Dahlin properties. Public documents were obtained in response to a Tribune request for any document related to an appeal on the parcels.

One item received was a copy of the single piece of paper Williams gave to Snyder indicating ďPlease put these parcels up for appeal 2015/2016Ē followed by the parcel numbers.

Chris Buckley, attorney for the Assessorís Office, said that written requests become part of the public record if accepted by the Assessor.

Buckley also said that the state has recently made it easier for taxpayers to file appeals. All thatís required is a written notice with the name of the taxpayer, the address and the parcel number for the property, and the address and telephone number of the taxpayer or representative.

The Assessorís Office Director of Commercial Operations Mary Dambek said itís possible for anyone to make a request for any property, but all appeals must be filed by the taxpayer themselves, a certified tax representative for the taxpayer, an attorney or someone who has power of attorney. If not, the appeals will be rejected.

Appeal requests may be accepted in person at the Assessorís Office, by mail or on the Assessorís website, Dambek said, but Williamsí is the only one of the 1,500 appeals field this year she knows of that was delivered to the Assessor outside of the office.

Snyder said the reason he accepted Williamsí request is because it was given to him within the filing deadline. Aug. 31, incidentally, was the last day appeals could be filed.

Dambek pointed out that although Williamsí request is dated as Aug. 31, there is no time stamp on it.

The Assessorís Office on Thursday officially issued a Notice of Defect in Completion of Assessment Appeal for all five parcels, stating the defects to be that there is no physical address of the property given, there is no mailing address, there is no telephone number and there is no signature or name of the person filing the appeal.

The defect notice will however be mailed to the taxpayer, in this case Dahlin, instead of Williams, even though Dahlin did not submit the request.

If Dahlin wishes for the appeal request to be accepted, he will need to send a corrected statement within 30 days to the Assessor.

Dambek, along with the Assessorís Chief Deputy Jean Swanson and Residential Real Estate Supervisor Peggy Hendron, said they have not had any communication with Dahlin in regards to the appeal.

Dahlin in 2013 did file tax assessment appeals on the Johnson Inn property that were denied by the Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals ďbased on lack of prima facie case.Ē

Dambek said Dahlin did not show up at his appeal hearing to present his case. The staff had made numerous attempts to contact him by phone with the numbers he gave on his appeal request but never were able to reach him.

Dambek, Swanson and Hendron said they donít know what involvement Williams has with the property, only that he delivered the request for appeals to Snyder.

Pavilion Project Link?

So what could Williamsí interest be in a beachfront property?

As the Tribune previously reported, Williamsí Pavilion Partners banquet center at the Indiana Dunes State Park beach faces a delay due to Department of Natural Resources use of federal funds under the Land and Water Conservation Act. The DNR spokesperson said the state has been aware of the LWFC rules and is waiting for Pavilion Partners to submit final plans. The LWCF will require DNR to acquire property of value no less than that of the land being converted to private use.



Posted 1/8/2016




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