Disney went to court over Orange County Property Appraiser Rick Singh’s assessment of Walt Disney World’s theme parks and hotels, filing at least a dozen lawsuits in the Orange Circuit Court. While rulings are still pending for most of these cases, the Orlando Sentinel is has reported a verdict has come with regards to one of the assessed values which Disney deemed “excessive.”
The ruling was issued June 19, and the appellate court declared the assessment process that Singh used to appraise the Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resort is illegal under Florida law. Singh’s office reported this deluxe resort owed an annual property tax bill of more than $4 million after nearly doubling the assessed value of Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resort to nearly $340 million.
Singh was elected to the position of Orange County’s property appraiser in 2012 and concluded some properties had been under accessed by his predecessors. Through his reevaluations, the results were sometimes dramatically higher than previous assessments.
Now experts are predicting Disney and other hotel chains, (many who have experienced financial loss due to the global health crisis) will jump on this opportunity to push for lower tax assessments. Since the new ruling, Disney has already begun challenging the assessed values of at least 10 other hotels.
Jacquee Wahler, a Disney spokesperson said, “We are pleased that the court concluded that the method used by the property appraiser violated Florida law. We look forward to a reassessment of our properties consistent with Florida law and the court of appeal’s ruling.” We’ll continue to follow this developing story.
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