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Ulrich v. Council on Real Estate Appraisers

Superior Court of Delaware, Kent

June 4, 2015

JOHN ULRICH, Appellant,
v.
COUNCIL ON REAL ESTATE APPRAISERS, Appellee.

Submitted: June 3, 2015

Upon Consideration of Appellant's Appeal from the Council on Real Estate Appraisers

John Ulrich, Pro se.

Katisha D. Fortune, Esquire, Deputy Attorney General, Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware for Council on Real Estate Appraisers.

ORDER

YOUNG, J.

SUMMARY

John Ulrich ("Appellant") provided an appraisal of property located in Smyrna, Delaware for a client. The State of Delaware ("Appellee") deemed this appraisal to be inaccurate, bringing disciplinary proceedings against Appellant. A hearing officer found Appellant to be in violation of the Delaware Real Estate Appraisers Act and the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice ("Appraiser Act")– specifically, 24 Del. C. § 4014(a)(5).

Whether a copy of this ruling, and a letter noticing a hearing reviewing the Hearing Officer's findings by the Council on Real Estate Appraisers ("Council") was received by Appellant, forms the core question before this Court. Appellant alleges that he was never provided notice of the hearing before the Council, after which the Council affirmed the Hearing Officer's findings. Appellant asserts that this is a violation of his due process rights.

The Court finds that the Appellant has not rebutted the presumption of receipt of notice. Furthermore, the letter constituting the notice contained the statutorily required elements. Therefore, the Court AFFIRMS the decision of the Council.

FACTS AND PROCEDURES

The present appeal arises out of an allegedly faulty appraisal of residential property by Appellant. In September of 2012, Appellant, a licensed Certified General Real Property Appraiser, was retained by AMC Links Residential Mortgage ("AMC") to provide an appraisal of property located at 444 Leena Lane, Smyrna, Delaware ("Property"). At that time, Appellant found the Property to be worth $221, 000.00. However, in coming to this conclusion, Appellant indicated that he had been unable to find sales of comparable properties in the past 12 months.

Appellee found this assessment and the appraisal to be incorrect or misleading. As a result, Appellee filed a professional licensure complaint against Appellant. Following a hearing held on September 10, 2014 before a hearing officer ("Hearing Officer"), it was determined that Appellant had violated the Appraiser Act: 24 Del. C. § 4014(a)(5). On September 29, 2014, the Hearing Officer submitted a written recommendation ("Recommendation") for review by the Council. A copy of the Recommendation was mailed on the same date to Appellant, accompanying a letter, which noticed a hearing before the Council to be held on October 21, 2014. Appellant disputes receipt of the letter and Recommendation, though he concedes having received prior communication at the same address as he had been reached previously.

Appellant did not appear at the October 21, 2014 hearing, after which the Council adopted the Hearing Officer's Recommendation. As per the Council's decision, Appellant is to pay a fine of $500.00 and attend continuing education ...


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