The Walt Disney Company has won one of many battles its currently fighting against Orange County Property Appraiser Rick Singh, who they say is overvaluing their properties.
- As the Orlando Sentinel reports, a judge has ruled in favor of Disney in a suit regarding the Yacht and Beach Club Resort, agreeing that the taxable value should be reduced.
- While Singh had valued the Epcot-area resort at $337 million, Disney argued the true value should be $189 million.
- The difference in value meant Disney was forced to pay more in property taxes. In fact, the ruling will result in a $1.2 million refund for the company.
- Part of the reason Disney argued that the appraisal was incorrect was because Singh included “ancillary income” from stores and restaurants in the resort.
- Disney also noted that the Yacht and Beach Club Resort was assessed at $154 million in 2014 before jumping sharply in 2015 despite the resort undergoing no significant expansion in that time.
- In his ruling, Senior Judge Thomas Turner wrote the Singh’s assessment was “unconstitutional and invalid.”
- Singh told the Orlando Sentinel that he planned to file for a rehearing.
- Meanwhile, Disney has several similar lawsuits in the works, including a series suits regarding a number of their properties the company filed last month.
What They’re Saying
- A Disney spokesperson on the trial outcome: “We are pleased with the judge’s ruling, which confirms the property appraiser’s methodology was inappropriate and unconstitutional and led to an unlawful 118 [percent] increase in the assessed value of Disney’s property.”
- Rick Singh, Orange County Property Appraiser: “This is about the taxpayers. This is not about us [his office] … We’re prepared to rigorously defend this case.”
- Judge Thomas Turner in his verdict: “The main issue in this case is whether it was legally proper to include this ancillary income in determining the just value.”