The St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority voted 9-0 Wednesday to use the power of eminent domain if necessary to assemble land for a new stadium. The authority oversaw construction of the domed stadium downtown two decades ago and is doing the same in early planning for a new open-air stadium. The 88-acre site north of downtown consists of 103 parcels. A representative said they would seek condemnation only if a landowner refused to negotiate or to clarify land-title issues, such as liens on property.
Opponents of Donald Trump are using his eminent domain background to attack Trump. As NPR recently reported “Republicans eager to blunt Donald Trump’s front-runner status in the GOP presidential primary think they’ve found the issue that will finally sink the billionaire’s White House hopes: eminent domain.”
A recent ad by the Club for Growth proclaims “Trump supports eminent domain abuse. He can make millions, while we lose our property rights.” This ad is being aired in Iowa. According to the ad, Trump responded to the Supreme Court’s controversial decision in Kelo, by saying, “I happen to agree with it 100 percent.”
Trump is also being criticized again for a case in which a woman’s home was taken in Atlantic City for a project involving one of his casinos. “This guy’s a bully,” says David Boaz, executive vice president of the Cato Institute, a prominent anti eminent domain group. “Using the power of government to take a widow’s property is pretty much the definition of a bully.”
There has been an ongoing feud between perhaps the 2 most important appraisal organizations – the Appraisal Institute and the Appraisal Foundation. The Institute has been publicly critical of the Foundation and resigned from the Foundation about 5 years ago. Now, the Foundation has responded very forcefully.
In an open letter to valuation professionals, the Foundation stated that “[r]ecent communications by the Appraisal Institute (the Institute) are calculated attempts to fracture the whole. This month marks the fifth anniversary of the Appraisal Institute’s decision to resign from The Appraisal Foundation, rather than face a suspension for violating the Foundation’s Code of Conduct for Sponsoring Organizations. Instead of coming together with their peers, working collaboratively, and respecting the opinions of others to further a common purpose, leaders of the Appraisal Institute aim to splinter the profession. This divide and conquer approach is short-sighted, damages the profession, and must stop.”
The Foundation then told its side of the story regarding efforts “to repair the relationship and solidify what has been collaboratively built over the last 28 years.” This included what it described as “Offering Olive Branches” including “three face-to-face meetings between the leadership of the Appraisal Institute and The Appraisal Foundation, none of which were initiated by the Institute.” The Foundation also accused the Institute of creating “a false narrative” and was critical of the Institute’s new “Standards of Valuation Practice.”
In conclusion the Foundation stated, “[t]he rift between The Appraisal Foundation, the Congressionally-authorized source of valuation standards and qualifications, and the Appraisal Institute, one of the nation’s largest appraiser trade associations, is a detriment to the profession and needs to be resolved.” Regardless of fault, that last statement is undeniably true and this “rift” needs to be resolved.
Kentucky Senator and presidential candidate Rand Paul has added eminent domain as an area to attack Donald Trump. For example, Paul raised this issue at an appearance in Idaho and a call with Alaska reporters. Paul called Trump a “fake conservative” citing, in part Trump’s eminent domain action against Vera Coking, a retired homeowner in Atlantic City, New Jersey. In 1993, Trump expanded his property holdings, and he bought several lots adjacent to his property in order to build a parking lot for limousines. Coking, who had lived in her home for about 35 years, refused to sell. Trump and the city of Atlantic City condemned her house using the power of eminent domain.
“I don’t believe that most Idahoans support eminent domain,” Paul said. In his call with the Alaska reporters, Paul said, “Donald Trump’s been a big fan of [eminent domain]. He used it in his business model and has really shown no consideration for small private property owners.
The Appraisal Institute Board of Directors at its July 30-31 meeting in Dallas adopted the proposed Valuers Code of Professional Ethics as a model code and approved making the VCPE available for use by non-AI professionals as a companion document to the Appraisal Institute Standards of Valuation Practice. The Institute describes the VCPE as containing “high quality, straightforward, principles-based and strict canons and rules of ethical conduct that valuers can follow when national or international ethical codes do not apply or are not required.” AI explained, “To develop the proposed VCPE, the Professional Standards and Guidance Committee (PSGC) started with the Appraisal Institute Code of Professional Ethics (CPE), removed obligations and terminology unique to Appraisal Institute professionals (e.g., cooperating with an Appraisal Institute peer review committee) and adjusted remaining language to ensure universality.”
There have been a number of articles written recently regarding presidential candidate Donald Trump’s use of eminent domain to acquire properties. For example, the Boston Globe published an article on 8/25 titled “Donald Trump is no champion of the little guy.” This article referenced Trump’s use of eminent domain to acquire property in Atlantic City. Similar articles have appeared in other newspapers and websites such as the Huffington Post.
The gap between homeowner and appraiser opinions of home values has nearly doubled since May, according to mortgage lender Quicken Loans. Quicken Loans publishes a “Home Price Perception Index” which it states represents the difference between appraisers’ and homeowners’ opinions of home values. The index compares the estimate that the homeowner supplies on the mortgage application to the appraisal that is performed later in the mortgage process. “Many homeowners around the country are seeing the national headlines about home value increases and they are optimistic about their equity increasing,” said Quicken Loans Chief Economist Bob Walters. “While some areas are seeing the same level of home appreciation, or even more, there are also some areas that have slower home value increases. This can lead to homeowners and appraisers not quite seeing eye-to-eye.”
Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) has introduced legislation in the US House seeking to prevent state and local governments from using eminent domain for economic development. The “Private Property Rights Protection Act” would prevent a state or political subdivision of a state from obtaining federal economic funds for two fiscal years if it uses its eminent domain power to transfer private property to other private parties for the purpose of economic development. The bill was first introduced in 2005 in the wake of the Kelo case.
The California legislature in considering legislation seeking to modernize its regulatory system. It has been passed by the State Assembly and the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee and currently is pending in the Senate Appropriations Committee. If AB 624 would allow state-certified appraisers to use standards of valuation practice other than the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice when performing non-federally related appraisal work.
Any alternative valuation standards would need to be reviewed and approved by the California Bureau of Real Estate Appraisers and the client. AB 624 is similar to legislation that was enacted into law in Texas and is under consideration in several other states.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law Senate Bill 1007 which amends the TX appraiser licensing and certification law. The bill will take effect Jan. 1, 2016.
According to the Appraisal Institute, SB 1007 includes provisions related to three high-priority issues for the Appraisal Institute:
- The bill will allow the Texas Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board to adopt rules relating to the standards for the development of an appraisal and the conveyance of an appraisal report that are “recognized as substantially equivalent to” the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice.
- The bill clarifies that an appraiser who is certified by a jurisdiction other than Texas can perform a review of an appraisal of real property in Texas without a Texas appraiser credential if the appraiser does not offer an opinion of value as part of the review process.
- The bill grants the TALCB maximum flexibility to adopt rules to implement the Appraiser Qualifications Board’s requirements that states have processes in place to ensure that applicants.