South-Western City School District Board of Education, Appellant,
Franklin County Board of Revision et al., Appellees.
Submitted August 29, 2017
from the Board of Tax Appeals, No. 2014-2259.
& Gillis Law Group, L.L.C., Mark H. Gillis, and Richelle
L. Thoburn, for appellant.
1} In this appeal, appellant, Board of Education of
the South-Western City School District ("BOE"),
challenges a decision of the Board of Tax Appeals
("BTA") affirming the Franklin County Board of
Revision's ("BOR's") reduced valuation of a
residential property in the amount of $65, 000 for tax year
2011. The BOE argues that the BTA failed in its duty to
independently evaluate the evidence to determine the value of
the property. We agree and therefore vacate the BTA's
decision and remand this matter to the BTA. Because this
proposition of law is dispositive, we do not address the
BOE's additional proposition of law.
2} The property at issue is a two-story residential
property located in Columbus, Ohio. The Franklin County
auditor assigned a true value of $113, 300 for tax year 2011.
On April 2, 2012, the owner, appellee Nadia Ryumshin, filed a
complaint seeking a reduction to $57, 000, contending that
home values in the area had declined. The BOE filed a
countercomplaint seeking to retain the auditor's
3} Ryumshin and counsel for the BOE appeared at the
BOR hearing. In support of the requested reduction, Ryumshin
presented comparable-sales documents that had been supplied
by a real-estate agent, who did not appear at the hearing.
Counsel for the BOE characterized many of Ryumshin's
comparable sales as "HUD sales."
4} Ryumshin's son spoke on her behalf at the
hearing due to a language barrier. He indicated that
relatives rented the property for $850 per month, which
represents the sum of the mortgage, insurance, and tax
payments on the property. The BOE did not submit any
documentary evidence or present any witnesses.
5} The BOR reduced the property's value to $65,
000. In determining this value, the BOR did not limit itself
to the evidence presented by Ryumshin. Instead, the BOR
considered additional evidence it obtained after the hearing
that it used to apply sales-comparison and income approaches
to the valuation.
6} The BOE appealed to the BTA, which held a hearing
on January 7, 2015. Ryumshin, counsel for the BOE, and
counsel for the BOR appeared.
7} Christine Holdrieth, the supervisor of the
auditor's appraisal department, testified at the hearing.
She explained that she had represented the auditor at the BOR
hearing and had performed the bulk of the analysis for the
BOR's sales-comparison and income approaches to the
8} For the sales-comparison approach, Holdrieth
explained that the BOR reviewed Ryumshin's
comparable-sales documents prior to the hearing and then
obtained and reviewed additional comparable sales after the
hearing. Holdrieth stated that Ryumshin's comparable
sales were questionable because they "were all low
sales, " and she explained that a broader spectrum of
sales that better resembled the property therefore needed to
be considered. The BOR neither shared the additional
comparables with the parties nor included them in the record
transmitted to the BTA because they were viewed
electronically and not in paper form.
9} For the income approach, Holdrieth explained that
the process is a "simple mathematical]" exercise
that involves multiplying the rental rate by the gross rent
multiplier ("GRM"). The GRM data, which contains
information pertaining to neighborhood-area rents and sales,
is provided to the auditor's office by a contract
appraisal company. The record transmitted to the BTA did not
contain the GRM data. The BOE later obtained a ...