Submitted: September 20, 2017
Appeal from the New Castle County Board of Assessment Review
L. Medinilla Judge.
an appeal from the New Castle County Board of Assessment
Review ("Board"). Appellant Ronald Angelo Sr.
("Appellant") appeals the Board's May 12, 2017
decision to deny his appeal of his property tax assessment.
Upon consideration of the facts, arguments, and legal
authority set forth by the parties; statutory and decisional
law; and the entire record in this case, the Court hereby
finds as follows:
Rosemary Angelo ("Mrs. Angelo") purchased 611
Southerness Drive, Townsend, Delaware 19734 (the
"Property") in August 2007.
New Castle County Office of Finance, Assessment Division
("Assessment Division") assessed the Property at
$98, 900; the land at $10, 900 and the structure at $88, 000.
April 11, 2016, Appellant filed a Residential Assessment
Appeal to the Board challenging that the Property should be
assessed at $30, 000. The appellate process requires that the
property owner show substantial overvaluation as to fair
market value as of July 1, 1983, the applicable base year.
Appellant did not identify any appraisal or comparable sales
to support his positions. Instead, Appellant attached a list
of fifteen complaints or alleged violations, including
violations of the New Castle County Code, the Delaware Code,
and the Fair Housing Act. He also attached an email chain
concerning a FOIA request and an Americans with Disabilities
Act Discrimination Complaint Form. In sum, Appellant argued
that he could not be taxed as assessed because both the deed
and the assessment process were invalid.
April 15, 2016, the New Castle County Office of Finance,
Assessment Division sent Appellant a letter concerning the
deficiencies in his appeal. The letter asked for Appellant to
provide comparable sales and Appellant's estimate of the
Property's July 1, 1983 fair market value. Appellant
failed to provide any information concerning comparable
Board hearing was held on April 20, 2017. Appellant provided
no evidence concerning the fair market value of the Property
as of July 1, 1983. Although Appellant requested the Property
be assessed at $30, 000, he testified that the Property
actually had no value due to issues with the deed, structural
issues, and multiple alleged legal violations previously
Appellees requested the appeal be denied where Appellant
provided no competent evidence of substantial overvaluation
as to the Property. The Board agreed and voted to deny the
appeal ("Board Decision"). In the written decision,
the Board noted that although Appellant alleged legal issues
related to the deed and Property, no evidence regarding the
deed or alleged violations were submitted with the appeal
form. The Board's rules clearly state that all evidence
must be included with an appellant's appeal
Appellant appeals the Board Decision to this Court. Appellant
contends that the Board erred by "not allowing] [him] to
present any evidence to support [his] Appeal even though the
violations were stated in the Appeal to the Assessment board
and the evidence was filed with various departments at the
County and State level [sic]."
Delaware property owners have a substantial evidentiary
burden at both the administrative and appellate levels.
"Before the Board of Assessment, there is a presumption
of accuracy in favor of the existing assessment, which the
property owner may only rebut with evidence of
'substantial overvaluation.'" A Board decision
is then presumed correct and may only be disturbed if the
appellant shows that the Board "acted contrary to law,
fraudulently, arbitrarily or
capriciously." The Court's review is limited. The
Court "does not weigh the evidence, determine questions
of credibility, or make its own factual
findings." The Court "is to reverse ... ...