Statement as issued Friday by the Allen County Assessor's Office:
Allen County Assessor Stacey O'Day announced the County's settlement with General Growth Properties, the owner of the Glenbrook Mall, over property tax assessments which extend over the past decade. Glenbrook contested approximately 23 million dollars in property taxes paid from 2002 to the current year. Those amounts were distributed to the various tax units in Allen County. In the settlement, the company agreed to relinquish its claim to over 20 million dollars of the nearly 23 million dollars in dispute. The current assessment for the Glenbrook Mall stores, including the main mall property, is $155,138,000. The mall owner's most recent proposed assessment was only $65,000,000, submitted in 2008.
Assessor O'Day said that the decision to settle the dispute came down to common sense:
"We were able to settle ten years of appeals by retaining nearly 90% of the 23 million dollars in dispute, all of which had been collected over the years and distributed to the tax units. The return to General Growth Properties of 10% of the amount it paid reflects our attorneys' assessment of the risk inherent in any litigation. While confident that we would have prevailed in that litigation, the risk of an adverse judgment to the schools and other governmental entities, along with the litigation costs we would have incurred, led us to conclude that this was the responsible and prudent course. We are quite pleased with the outcome."
The exact amount retained by the County tax units in the settlement is $20, 323,328. The County will return $2,416,614 to General Growth Properties which payment will conclude the litigation. The settlement removes the uncertainty faced by the county's tax units who might have been called upon to repay the approximate 23 Million dollars in dispute. "This settlement did not come easy. We stood firm for the taxpayers and the tax units. We negotiated from a position of strength knowing that my staff had done an excellent job determining the assessed value of this extremely complex piece of real estate. The successful end to the litigation is a credit to their skill and effort. Finally, we appreciate Glenbrook's willingness to negotiate this settlement in good faith. We are grateful to have this successful business operation located in Allen County and we wish for its continued success," O'Day said.
General Growth Properties is among the County's largest taxpayers. The company pays approximately $4.5 million dollars in annual property taxes which are then divided among all of the tax units based upon the tax levies for each.