Lewis Family Farm, Inc. vs. APA

Photo © 2008 HB

Other APA
Motion for FeesMotion_for_Fees.html
The $50K
The DecisionThe_Decision.html

On August 1, 2013, over two years of litigation with the Town of Essex ended when Judge Richard B. Meyer signed a Stipulation and Order of Settlement, reducing our farm’s property assessment from $6.3 million to $1.81.


This one cost the taxpayers of Essex over $100,000. It has cost us far more.

We are glad it is over. We are not glad for the fight. The power of taxation is the power to destroy – financial well-being, property rights, and trust in government. The principles of democracy are shaken.

We list the important documents below. We welcome questions and comments.

[Martina Baillie, Esq. may also be reached at 917.930.9621.]

1 The current assessed value of $2.3 reflects the addition of two barns built after the  grievance was filed in May 2011.

1. Stipulation and Order of Settlement, August 1, 2013

In which Judge Richard B. Meyer orders the Town of Essex to reduce the property assessment of the two Lewis Family Farm parcels challenged at our appraiser’s valuation, fixing the valuation from date of grievance in 2011 through 2016, and ordering all interest and penalties cancelled or waived.

  1. 2.County’s corrected tax amounts pursuant to the Court’s Stipulation and Order, August 13, 2013

In which the County recalculates the Lewis Family Farm’s  taxes pursuant to the Court’s order, showing adjustments and zero penalties.

3.  Lewis Family Farm Appraisal – Key Chart

In which Donald A. Fisher of Pomeroy Appraisal Associates, Inc. allocates the appraised value of the Lewis Family Farm, excerpted from a 133+ page appraisal, describing methodology and factors used [available for inspection upon request].

4. Essex County Tax History of the Lewis Family Farm

In which the exponential increase in the Farm’s assessed value and taxes paid is clear.

5. FOIL requests issued to the Town of Essex seeking assessors’ files on Lewis Family Farm

In which counsel for the farm forces disclosure of any and all documents, notes, reports, correspondence and anything whatsoever prepared by the Town’s assessors with respect to the Lewis Family Farm.

(The files produced by the Town of Essex in response to the May 3, 2012 FOIL request is too voluminous to upload here but may be inspected on request at the Lewis Family Farm site. See Document 6 for Town’s response to May 8, 2013 FOIL request.)

6. Response of Town of Essex to Farm’s FOIL request of May 8, 2013*

In which Town produces assessors’ reports and calculations of Lewis Family Farm property, one year into litigation.

7.  FOIL requests issued to the Town of Essex seeking disclosure of Town’s legal and appraisal bills

In which counsel for the farm forces disclosure of invoices of, and payments to, Town’s counsel, Mark R. McNamara, Esq., of Hiscock & Barclay LLC, and appraiser, Jeffrey E. Robinson, MAI, SRA, of Empire State Appraisal Consultants, Inc.

8. Response of Town of Essex to Farm’s FOIL request for lawyer and appraiser billing and payments

In which Town of Essex evidences payment to Town’s counsel of approximately $80,000 to Hiscock & Barclay LLP and almost $30,000 to Empire State Appraisal Consultants.

9. Resume of Jeffrey E. Robinson, MAI, SRA

In which not a single mention of appraisal experience with farms is mentioned, despite oral representations to the contrary.

* Note date of executed letter is incorrect; should be May 8, 2013.