Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Two 10s for a 5?

Washington State Law requires that an appraisal be obtained by a public agency before purchasing property with public funds. It does not say that you have to use the lowest appraisal or the most qualified appraiser. The auditor's report may actually verify that the District's purchase of the new support site was lawful. But was it right?

There are legal ways to rob banks, invade other nations, raid pension funds and kill people. The legality of the act does not justify the result.

Was it correct for District staff to conceal or disregard an appraisal from an exceptionally-gifted and highly competent appraiser? An appraiser the District has actively utilized for more than a decade. An appraiser that is regarded as one of the best - if not the best in our region. An appraiser selected by the District because of his exceptional qualifications and experience. An appraiser that went through the RFQ process and beat out all other contenders for the honor of performing District appraisals?

Who is Judson Clendaniel? I haven't spent a lot of time researching his work history, because it isn't very lengthy. He was a real estate agent at one stage in his career and then recently moved toward property appraisals. I have asked around and his impact on the industry has apparently gone unnoticed. Maybe I am asking the wrong people. Maybe I am biased toward work I know to be of the highest quality. Clendaniel just isn't well known in my real estate circles. I am not saying the man is incompetent, but why would his appraisal - paid for by the seller - instantly outweigh and cast aside the District's official appraisal?

Don't get me wrong. I have the greatest respect for Clendaniel. He served his client well. He managed to write such a compelling appraisal that the District had no other choice than to throw public money at the seller. The District was so bowled over by the enthusiastic manner of his assessment they just couldn't help but throw an extra $2,300,000.00 in his direction. Clearly, I am in the wrong profession.

Another troubling element is the Old Woodway transaction. Why wouldn't the District hire Clendaniel to appraise Old Woodway? Afterall, he has such a gift with words and could have gotten twice the actual value for the site instead of the paltry sum the District managed to capture.

Call me simple, but in my world there is a big difference between what is right and what is legal. The auditor may deem the transaction to be legal, but was it in the best interest of the public?

Questions to ask your school board:
1. Why disregard the NW Valuations appraisal dated May 23, 2005?
2. Why not hire a review appraisal or negotiate with the District's appraisal?
3. Why accept the seller's appraisal as the best determination of value?

Mark Zandberg, Moderator
Former Planning and Property Management Specialist
March 2001 - June 2007


Anonymous said...

Will you post responses from board members, if they write in? It sounds like you are a force for truth.

The board must know about this site by now. They must have answers they would like to share. I know I would like to hear them.

Please post their comments if they have anything to say.

Anonymous said...

If nothing else, why did the district feel the need to circumvent the public and figure out a way to hide the information? Who profited from the deal?

Anonymous said...

When the details of these transactions are substantiated and the allegations are revealed as true what can we expect the outcome to be?

If the School Board can confess that they have placed far too much trust & faith in the abilities of this "leadership" then the pressure must surely be on them to replace & restructure in a more positive way to better reflect a well run organization lest their own positions come under scrutiny.

Anonymous said...

The earlier example could be defended in part as being due to incompetency.

The second suggests something more sinister.

The former would result in dismissal, the latter prosecution.

Anyone taking any bets?

Anonymous said...

Clendaniel is a lifetime resident of the Seattle area and has been appraising full-time since 1978 - almost as long as my good friend, former coworker, and respected colleague who preformed the previous appraisal. What has been left out of the commentary is that after the first appraisal, the property had been platted, graded & filled and utilities extended. Streets had been vacated adding to the potential size of the site. The market also continued to improve. These changes were described in my report, in detail, so that the decision makers had up to date information.

As for past real estate agent - yes, I sold houses to pay for College. WSU, 1978 BA, Business Administration with an emphasis on real estate, full tuition scholarship recipient. I hold an MAI designation, am a published appraisal author and past real estate instructor. My client list includes the top developers, bankers, public agencies and attorneys in the area as well as national investors and lenders.

Perhaps Mr Zandberg should expand his "real estate circles." And no, I didn't do the Woodway appraisal - I did the review.

Judson H. Clendaniel, MAI