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Junior Member
Feb 4, 2002
Jim Sanders, SRA, just told me that Arizona's Mohave County Superior Court Judge Charles W. Gurtler, Jr. ordered the Arizona Board of Appraisal to pay the "costs" of almost $32,000 to Felicia Coplan, an appraiser who has been persecuted by the AZ BoA. Apparently the Board of Appraisal violated state law in their zeal to penalize Ms. Coplan.

Toward the beginning of the AZ BoA's actions versus Felicia Coplan, two appraisers overheard two Board of Appraisal members: Marie Meahl, who has since passed away, and Gabe Corral, who is still on the Board, discussing how they were "going to get Felicia", one of their competitors. This is one of an array of reasons the Board needs to be replaced by a single, full time administrator.

Here's a copy of a letter I wrote to Judge Gurtler back in early May:

Ricardo Small
P.O. Box 17296
Tucson, AZ 85731-7296
May 8, 2008

The Honorable Charles W. Gurtler, Jr.
Judge of the Superior Court
2225 Trane Road
Bullhead City, Arizona 86442

and DEBORAH G. PEARSON, CV-2006-4140

Dear Judge Gurtler:

Your decisions about the Coplan vs. AZ Board of Appraisal case are commendable. I recently read a copy of a Form of Judgment, requesting that the AZ BoA reimburse Ms. Coplan for her attorneys’ fees and taxable costs.

Your decisions in this case are classic examples of how the balance of power among the branches of government is supposed to work. The AZ BoA’s persecution of Felicia Coplan is an example of the executive branch of state government conducting an oppressive action that violated state law. Your decisions are the judicial weight counterbalancing the scale of justice. Thank you very much for making excellent rulings.

Ms. Coplan deserves to be reimbursed for the requested fees and costs. She also should be compensated for the emotional trauma that the AZ BoA’s persecution caused.

Arizona’s appraisers should applaud your previous decisions and commendable understanding of what happened to Ms. Coplan.

Arizona’s appraisers should also support Ms. Coplan being reimbursed for her fees and costs, because all of Arizona’s appraisers are subject to similar persecution from the AZ BoA in the future, unless their illegal actions have financial consequences that generate a modification of how this Board operates.

I criticized the AZ BoA numerous times for a dismal history of enforcement. My attempts to participate in the enforcement of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) all resulted in less than effective sanctions (remedial education), if any penalty was imposed for fraudulent and misleading appraisal reports. The AZ BoA’s ineffective efforts are a defacto repealing of USPAP. Outlaw appraisers operate throughout Arizona without much chance of any consequence for lying about values.

The appraisal reports that I filed complaints about during the past ~ten years involved mortgage fraud and forgery of a signature, along with grossly misleading information in stark contrast to the Coplan issues.

One of the appraisal reports I filed a complaint about said the appraised parcel of land contained almost eleven acres and that electric service was at the lot line. Actually, there were less than three acres, and Trico Electric’s hookup was over 1.5 miles away. That case was dismissed without penalty. The AZ BoA failed to utilize the services of a handwriting expert to identify which of three most likely culprits from the same appraisal office actually signed the report. None of the three would admit to the signature, although one of their names was typed on the report.

The AZ BoA also dismissed a complaint about a mortgage fraud without investigation, because this Board operates with a self-imposed rule prohibiting investigation of a complaint without a copy of an appraisal report. This ignores readily available and convincing evidence, like I provided with the complaint, from local MLS records, from public records and from witnesses, such as a real estate broker with inside knowledge. The Board failed to subpoena a copy of the appraisal report from the mortgage company, First Magnus. The appraised house was subsequently used to secure another fraudulent mortgage a year or so after the AZ BoA dismissed the first complaint. Each of these two frauds generated over $100,000 in illegal distributions to the perps.

At the same time, the AZ BoA continued to attack Ms. Coplan, along with other appraisers, for picayunish infractions equivalent to no more than parking violations. Such minor violations of USPAP do not warrant the intensity the AZ BoA focused on these irrelevant cases, wasting limited resources, part of which could have been used to hire a handwriting expert for one of the above cases.

The AZ BoA is a committee of nine, politically appointed, part-timers, who have clearly demonstrated that they are not capable of effective enforcement of USPAP. This Board’s history provides an excellent reason to replace the present administrative structure with an agency led by one full-time, professional administrator, similar to the Real Estate Commissioner and the Superintendent of Financial Institutions.

I hope you will order the AZ BoA to reimburse Ms. Coplan for her fees and expenses and, by doing so, direct this Board to operate within Arizona’s laws.


Ricardo Small

COPY of the foregoing mailed this
8th day of May, 2008 to:

Felicia M. Coplan
Triad Appraisals
4410 Highway 95, #F
Ft. Mohave, AZ 86426

Tina M. Ezzell
Sacks Tierney P.A.
Scottsdale, AZ 85251-3693

Jim Sanders
Arizona Market Research
2824 E. Weymouth Circle
Tucson, AZ 85716

Jeanne M. Galvin
Assistant Arizona Attorney General
1275 W. Washington – CIV/LES
Phoenix, Arizona 85007-2997

Deborah G. Pearson
Arizona State Board of Appraisal
1400 West Washington, Suite 360
Phoenix, Arizona 85007


Senior Member
Dec 9, 2004
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
Nice letter - well written - and a judge with some sanity. Yes, sometimes there IS justice - just not often enough.

Joe Masin

Sophomore Member
Jan 21, 2004
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
New Jersey
Good for you Mr. Small and congrats to Ms. Coplan. As Bearslide stated, SOMETIMES there is justice...it's just a shame the "victories" appear to be few and far between.

Sheikh Yerbouti

Senior Member
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
About time someone stood up to the Mohave Mafia. Congrats to Felicia.


Junior Member
Feb 4, 2002
Hey, Dave. Your icon has gone through a very interesting metamorphosis during the past year or so. Who is it now? Nacho Libre? Or the Chairman of the AZ BoA?


Elite Member
Apr 23, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
There's no place for state boards to act in a personal or vindictive
manner. They should be subject to the same code of ethics as
we do....screw up and suffer the consequences.
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