In still more news about how stadiums aren't exactly the financial boon for cities that some people think they are, The Giants are seeking, for the second time, millions of dollars in property tax refunds from the City of San Francisco, arguing that the assessed value of AT&T Park is unfair, and way too high. As mustache bros Matier and Ross reported, the Giants have locked horns with Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu, saying she unfairly hiked their property tax bill by 97 percent in 2011, and they're now seeking refunds for 2011 to 2014 based on those years' prepared tax returns, which would total around $8 million.
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At issue is how to decide what the stadium is worth - Chu assessed it at $407 million, about twice what the team paid to build it 16 years ago. The Giants say it's more like $158 million, with Jack Bair, the team's senior vice president and general counsel, having earlier made the comparison of a stadium with a car, saying that unlike a house it depreciates over time. Bair and the team earlier sought refunds for the same reason for the years 2001 through 2003.
They're now taking their case to the Assessment Appeals Board, which will attempt to settle the dispute.
Chu tells the Chronicle, "We believe our assessed value enrolled was the right value, and we are going to try to uphold that." The trouble may be that assessed value, in the real estate world, requires comparable sales, and given that nobody in the Bay Area has sold a stadium anytime recently, this would be a controversial task.
Meanwhile, the Giants have virtually been given carte blanche to become developers of Mission Rock and the parking lots behind the stadium on Pier 48, something that will ultimately net them hundreds of million of dollars, so doesn't this seem sort of petty?