I’ve been meaning to update this blog with the results of my complaint to BC Assessment.
Back in January, I filed a complaint regarding the 2012 assessment of the Vernon-Monashee MLA constituency office. The office in question is located at 3209 31 Ave in Vernon (it was purchased by Kalview Park Enterprises just days before the 2009 election).
The original 2012 assessed value was $177,100. This seemed ridiculously low given that the MLA in question, Eric Foster, had arranged for as much as $78,000 to be spent on office renovations.
After receiving the complaint, BC Assessment – to their credit – assigned two senior employees to reexamine the property. The new value from BC Assessment was $214,000. This was an increase of $36,900 (a 20% increase from the original value). The $214,000 assessment was confirmed after a hearing at the Property Assessment Review Panel.
The building owners, who are allegedly related to Eric Foster’s constituency assistant, did not bother to show up at the hearing.
Here is a new development for those following the media reports about MLA Eric Foster and the renovations of his Vernon-Monashee constituency office. It turns out that the lot next door to Foster’s constituency office is also owned by the same company.
The property in question is a parking lot at 3211 31 Ave in Vernon. A document from the Kamloops Land Title Office shows that it was purchased by Kalview Park Enterprises Ltd for $108,001.91. Like the purchase of Eric Foster’s constituency office at 3209 31 Ave, this lot was bought days before the May 12, 2009 general election in British Columbia.
It is unclear whether the Conflict of Interest Commissioner was aware of this additional property when reviewing the details of the renovations of Foster’s constituency office. Nor is it clear whether this additional property was part of the audit conducted by Auditor General John Doyle.
Kalview Park Enterprises was created through an amalgamation of two numbered companies on March 1, 2009.
Here is my email to the Okanagan Region of BC Assessment regarding MLA Eric Foster’s constituency office in Vernon:
In addition to my complaint below, and pursuant to Section 39 of the Assessment Act, I am requesting the Property Assessment Review Panel do the following:
1) Compel Eric Foster to attend the hearing as a witness. Mr. Foster leases the building at 3209 31 Avenue in Vernon and he approved and directed its renovation. His presence at the hearing is required so he can answer questions about renovations, lease payments and other matters directly related to the market value of the property.
2) Order Mr. Eric Foster to disclose all documents in his possession or control that are related to renovations, changes or improvements at 3209 31 Avenue in Vernon. I require copies of these documents prior to the hearing so I can present evidence regarding the actual market value of this property.
Please note that the failure of the Property Assessment Review Panel to issue these orders will, in all likelihood, create grounds for an appeal.
I’ve filed an online complaint with BC Assessment regarding their assessed value of the building leased by the MLA for Vernon-Monashee. Here is my complaint:
“Recent media reports suggest that in 2009, the individual leasing 3209 31st Avenue in Vernon – Mr. Eric Foster – spent as much as $78,000 on building renovations. This property is currently assessed at $187,100. Given the renos, I believe its actual market value to be higher.”
(If you are not familiar with this building, here is a good summary of the issues from the Vernon Morning Star.)
The complaint will be heard by the Property Assessment Review Panel (PARP). A date has not been set yet, but the Panel is required to hold the hearing by March 15th. The hearing will be open to the public.
I will be asking the Panel to compel Mr. Foster to appear as a witness at the hearing and also to produce financial documents regarding the 2009 renovations. This way he can demonstrate the value added to the property through the expenditure of public funds. The authority for the Panel to compel witnesses and order disclosure is found in Section 39 of the Assessment Act.
I am looking for someone in the Vernon area to represent me as an agent in this matter. This would be on a pro bono basis. I am seeking a person with a background in law and real estate who is passionate about accountability and fiscal responsibility. If you would like to be my agent, please contact me.
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