• Welcome to AppraisersForum.com, the premier online  community for the discussion of real estate appraisal. Register a free account to be able to post and unlock additional forums and features.

No excuses! Give this lady a cigar!

Status
Not open for further replies.

Lost Cause

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2004
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
New York
Walking The Walk?

It doesn't appear that things are going so well in Colorado. How can there be such difference in opinion between the Appraisal Board and the Courts? Are O'Gorman and Stewart immediate dangers to the public or are they not?
 

USPAP Compliant

Thread Starter
Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
North Carolina
There was a very, very similar situation in NC recently. The appraiser was allowed to voluntary surrender and has moved to another state where he is certified and practicing.


I would love to read the court case if available (on O'Gorman). That sounds interesting.

Fines are a stupid way to police appraisers. The innocent have to pay the fine to continue and the guilty are allowed to buy off their sin and sin some more!

I have seen two juries give a seal of approval to corrupt appraisal treports.....because most juries have no idea how to read an appraisal report.


Appraisal Boards operate as "administrative law" courts. In some states (NC is one and it appears CO is another) appraisal boards ARE NOT BOUND to any appeal decision by a court. This means that an appeal will likely do nothing but PIXX OFF the appraisal board.
 

USPAP Compliant

Thread Starter
Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
North Carolina
Five sides to every story.


License frozen of Loveland appraiser

The state orders the suspension in its probe of conservation easements.

By Margaret Jackson
The Denver Post
Article Last Updated: 01/12/2008 12:26:29 PM MST


The State Board of Real Estate Appraisers voted unanimously Friday to suspend the license of Loveland appraiser Thomas John Stewart in connection with an investigation into alleged abuses of Colorado's conservation-easement program.

The Colorado Division of Real Estate launched the investigation in November, issuing 30 subpoenas to people who were connected to deals involving five ranches and an Arvada land trust, then called Noah Land Conservation. The division reviewed three conservation-easement appraisals that Stewart conducted in Adams County.

"We are still in the investigative stage of this case and expect to take additional action as evidence of foul play surfaces," said Erin Toll, director of the Division of Real Estate. "This is the first step in weeding out the bad actors so we can preserve the integrity of the conservation-easement program."

Stewart could not be reached for comment. The suspension order did not indicate a time period for the suspension, except to say that Stewart cannot conduct any acts that require an appraisal license pending the outcome of further proceedings.

Those subpoenaed as part of the investigation included investors in the five ranches who bought parcels ranging in size from 23 acres to 244 acres between 2005 and 2007. After the parcels were appraised, the investors put conservation easements on their land through Noah, now called Colorado Natural Land Trust.

The conservation-easement program allows landowners to get tax deductions and earn tax credits in exchange for restricting development on their land. Among the reasons for the easements are preserving scenic views, land for outdoor recreation and natural habitat.

Abuse of the program can occur when landowners get excessively high appraisals for property they put in easements, allowing them to take higher tax deductions and obtain more tax credits than they otherwise would get.

Stewart, 43, performed the appraisals while he was employed with Front Range Real Estate Consultants Inc., a now-defunct appraisal firm run by Julie O'Gorman.

O'Gorman recently was fined $10,000 and had her license downgraded to the lowest level after a separate investigation determined that she had inflated the value of a conservation easement near Walsenburg.

O'Gorman could not be reached for comment. Her attorney, Daniel Foster of Foster, Graham, Milstein & Calisher LLP, noted that in June, an administrative-law judge said O'Gorman should pay a $500 fine and could have her license reinstated Dec. 1.

"The judge specifically found that there was no fraud," he said. "There were other technical violations but not fraud. We won that hearing."

But the board set aside the win, so O'Gorman accepted a settlement deal to save her license, Foster said.

Before starting work for O'Gorman, Stewart owned Affordable Data Systems of Brighton, which provided cable and wiring systems and services for computers, televisions and phones, according to a biography previously posted on the Front Range Real Estate Consultants website.

It's unclear precisely when Stewart started working in the appraisal industry. Biographical information on the Front Range Real Estate Consultants' website in 2003 indicates he started working in the appraisal industry in Colorado in 2002. A separate bio posted on the website in 2005 says he started in August 2000 and practices in Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, Arizona and Nevada.

Now a certified general appraiser, Stewart formed American Valuation Services shortly after O'Gorman dissolved Front Range Real Estate Consultants in August. It is operating from the same address as Front Range.

A telephone recording at American Valuation's office says the business was formerly Front Range Real Estate Consultants
 

Elliott

Elite Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Oregon
Pechoo! Pechoo! Erin shooting from the hip, opps Erin has
to play defense, takes cover. Pechoo! Pechoo!

She certainly writes good administrative-eese.
 

USPAP Compliant

Thread Starter
Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
North Carolina
I have been to two "appeals" where an individual was appealing a decision by their regulatory board. It may work differently in all 50 states. In NC it works like this.

License boards receive complaints, investigate them and settle the cases outside of any public hearing. In the very, very, very small percentage of cases where an official hearing takes place, the board or commission either finds the license holder guilty or innocent of the charges. If found guilty, the very same board/commission will decide what disciplinary action will take place.

If the license holder is not satisfied with the result they can file an appeal.

The appeal is heard by an administrative law judge (usually a retired judge) who will hear arguments from both sides. The appeal will not involve much that has anything to do with professional license matters (as in appraisal, plumbing, electrical, real estate, dentistry etc). The appeal is based technical issues of law. was the board/commission incorrect in legal procedures?

In NC, the license board/commission has no obligation to follow the opinions of the administrative law judge. In most cases these boards simply allow the appeal to go forward and then ignore any ruling that they don't like.

Most of these appeals are "I might be guilty but the board/commission did not follow proper procedure". You can spend $20,000 on an appeal and then have the board/commission just smile and say...."we don't care, our decision stands".


You simply do not "win" in an administrative law appeal where the decision is not binding.



"The judge specifically found that there was no fraud," he said. "There were other technical violations but not fraud. We won that hearing."

But the board set aside the win, so O'Gorman accepted a settlement deal to save her license, Foster said.


Evidently you don't "win" in CO either. I guess the only winner is the attorney.
 
Last edited:

stefan olafson

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2003
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
North Dakota
I kind of wish I lived in Colorado!

I've been labeled by my state appraisal board as "A Danger to the Public". I've been run through the entire program as described above. My case involves 'compliance with USPAP' but the board refuses to define what compliance is!

I've been unable to work in my home state since March of 2003 resulting in estimated damages of over $700,000 in lost income, my childrens college funds were eaten up by the legal fees, my savings are gone, and life just isn't much fun anymore.

My position prevailed at the administrative law level here in my home state. The judge affirmed my attorneys and my allegations of wrongdoing by the board, the board not following administrative code and not following the law in my home state.

The board refused the opinion of the judge and wrote their own opinion informing me and the public that I in fact violated the law and the code and violated USPAP. Even though they refuse to define compliance!

In Colorado I would have been fined and could have continued on appraising, something I am very good at.
 

USPAP Compliant

Thread Starter
Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
North Carolina
After seeing what my appraisal board did with USPAP, how it was misused, abused, ignored, left un-read, misapplied, adulterated, misunderstood and added to....I did the only thing I could do to protect myself.

I took the 15 Hour USPAP course, read USPAP, read the FAQ's and then did it over and over and over and over again. The same with state law and board rules.

Even all of that will not overcome a board without ethics, honesty and competence.

Very, very few appraisers know enough about their state board to fill a thimble........they only know what they are told and never bother to learn for themselves.
 

Elliott

Elite Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Oregon
UC said, Very, very few appraisers know enough about their state board to fill a thimble........they only know what they are told and never bother to learn for themselves.

I agree. The best thing that has happened to the 'complaint process'
is that E&O stepped in and said, "Let us know, we'll find you an attorney
and defend you." If you have an E&O that doesn't want to support
you at the board level with 'their' attorney, I suggest you find a new E&O.
Its hard to find good attorneys and some E&Os know the very good ones
that can make the 'career point' assistant attorney generals look like
grandstanding bullies. Too many boards are wack-a-doodle.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Find a Real Estate Appraiser - Enter Zip Code

Copyright © 2000-, AppraisersForum.com, All Rights Reserved
AppraisersForum.com is proudly hosted by the folks at
AppraiserSites.com
Top

AdBlock Detected

We get it, advertisements are annoying!

Sure, ad-blocking software does a great job at blocking ads, but it also blocks useful features of our website. For the best site experience please disable your AdBlocker.

I've Disabled AdBlock
No Thanks