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Even seen a $400,000,000 house?

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Even seen a $400,000,000 house?

Old 02-12-06, 01:46 AM
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Even seen a $400,000,000 house?

This is kind of funny, and sad at the same time. The house is actually worth $120,000 but somebody entered itís value as $400 million. The result was that he owed $8 million in taxes. Of course he didnít really owe the money, but in the meantime all of the different agencies made their budgets based off of getting their cut of the $8 million, and other peopleís taxes were reduced a little because of the increase of this money.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/busine...l=chi-news-hed

A $400 MILLION HOUSE?
A computer error gave Indiana taxing bodies that false idea. They're out about $8 million.

By James Janega
Tribune staff reporter
Published February 11, 2006
The story of the $400 million house began innocently enough--with a faulty computer entry.

This week, however, things went downhill fast, as school systems and towns throughout Porter County, Ind., scrambled to fill gaping budget holes resulting from a colossal goof in the tax valuation of a modest two-bedroom house in Valparaiso.

And on Friday, the owner of the wildly overvalued ranch was scratching his head, wondering if it's too late to sell.

"We'd sell it for 5 percent of that!" said Dennis Charnetzky, 32, who heard about the mistake that afternoon while working at his home remodeling business.

Pausing, he reconsidered: "At least I don't owe $8 million in taxes."

In October 2004, give or take, a real estate agent--or maybe a title company employee--checking on the value of the Valparaiso property on a county computer system apparently tapped the wrong key. Officials figure it was an accident.

The unidentified user stumbled onto a restricted screen, and then changed the value of the $120,000 house in the 1100 block of Chicago Street to $400 million.

Trying to reconstruct the event, officials imagine the user looking up and realizing something was amiss, then hitting "escape" to leave the screen. But the new value stayed in the computer, and the property tax bill for the house leaped from $1,500 to the upper seven figures.

"They never reported it to the county that they got a funny screen," Porter County Treasurer Jim Murphy said of the mystery typist.

The error was spotted at least twice, Murphy said. One woman in the county auditor's office spotted the problem the day after the entry when the county's equalized assessed value went sky high overnight.

The auditor's office fixed the glitch that allowed outsiders into the county tax computer system, but the $400 million valuation somehow remained.

Last May, the bank that held the home's escrow account, got a tax bill on the property for $8 million. The bank asked the county to take another look at things.


"We thought the problem had been fixed," Murphy said. "It had not been."

So, guided by its computers, the county expected to collect taxes on this startling new abundance, and other taxpayers were asked to pay a little less. Budgets were built around the phantom figures.

"And that's when the poop hit the fan," the treasurer said.

Eighteen taxing districts from the city of Valparaiso, the county and the Valparaiso schools now find themselves in the position of having to return to the county an advance of $3,090,287.33 that was never collected.

That's $1,700,192.51 from the Valparaiso Community Schools, which had counted on the money for their $38 million 2006 budget.

It's also $1,045,527.33 back from the city of Valparaiso (2006 budget: $21.3 million), which had been mounting an aggressive city beautification effort, complete with street resurfacing and sidewalk repairs.


"You can imagine the panic it caused here," said City Administrator Bill Hanna. "You won't find us buying laptops."

Still, no matter what anybody says, "We're not even thinking about laying people off," he said.

But that cracked sidewalk? Might have to wait until next year.

Officials say the county and its various taxing bodies will make it through the short term, as they negotiate with the state on how to correct the mistake. Long-term finances will depend on what's decided.

Back to the house.

"It's a nice home on a quiet street in Valparaiso," Murphy said. "Nice neighborhood, good schools."

The leafy street is just a half-mile from downtown restaurants, steps away from Parkview Elementary School, and walking distance from a lush, grassy park.

The 1,200-square-foot, two-bedroom, one-bath, single-story house (with basement) valued at $121,900 was built in 1949, according to Porter County tax records.

It seems to have little in common with other real estate in the $400 million range--for instance, the twisting 115-story, 2,000-foot Fordham Spire proposed last July for a site along Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. If built, that $400 million tower would be the tallest building in North America, with 250 condominium units and a 200-room luxury hotel.

Until 2004, the owner of the Valparaiso ranch home was Robert Affeld, who had lived there 20 years with his wife Sarah, now deceased.

"I never heard anything about it like that," said Affeld, who now lives with his daughter in Danville, Ind. "I sure ain't got $8 million to pay taxes, that's for sure."

He sold the house to Dennis' wife Daelyn Charnetzky, 31, a hair stylist. The Charnetzkys have lived there for more than a year, with no idea they had gotten such a bargain.

"I feel bad for the city for not getting all the property taxes they deserve," said Dennis Charnetzky, who did not sound like he felt bad at all. "It really blows my mind when you hear about stupid stuff like that happening."

On the other hand, Murphy said, one of the darkest weeks in Porter County financial history is over.

"There's a light at the end of the tunnel," he said. "At least it's Friday."

Last edited by Heat; 02-12-06 at 01:55 AM.
Old 02-12-06, 02:00 AM
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Poop hit the fan? Someone actually said that?
Old 02-12-06, 02:35 AM
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I would imagine Gate's house on Lake Washington exceeds that, but I'm really not sure.

Edit: Nope, only $97 million at the time of construction, so probably not. Still over $1,000,000 in annual property taxes though.

Originally Posted by kvrdave
Poop hit the fan? Someone actually said that?
The sad thing is... it actually happened. They literally throw poop at fans in Indiana just for poops and giggles.

Last edited by Th0r S1mpson; 02-12-06 at 02:38 AM.
Old 02-12-06, 02:54 AM
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No such things as 400 million houses because they are called castles or palaces.
Old 02-12-06, 04:38 AM
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Here people think the real estate market doesn't have much higher to go . . .
Old 02-12-06, 11:29 AM
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There used to be a high-end real estate magazine called Unique Homes. I had an issue in the early 80s which listed the English castle in which Henry VIII proposed marriage to Anne of Cleaves. The asking price was well under $100m.
Old 02-12-06, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Nick Danger
There used to be a high-end real estate magazine called Unique Homes. I had an issue in the early 80s which listed the English castle in which Henry VIII proposed marriage to Anne of Cleaves. The asking price was well under $100m.
Prices in the early 80's don't really compare very well to prices now, especially on novelty property such as this.
Old 02-12-06, 12:13 PM
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I'm seeing things again...

I thoguht it was $400,000,000 HORSE!
Old 02-12-06, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Mole177
I'm seeing things again...

I thoguht it was $400,000,000 HORSE!
Even Kvrdave's wife couldn't afford that!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Old 02-12-06, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Thor Simpson
Prices in the early 80's don't really compare very well to prices now, especially on novelty property such as this.
Here's a house designed by a major architect, with 60 acres of land, an 18 hole golf course, and a 75 foot pool, for only $75 million.

Linky
Old 02-12-06, 01:50 PM
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The most expensive piece of real estate in the country is only $125M. It was bought by Donald Trump as a fixer-upper.

http://www.uniquehomes.com/cms/ultimatehomes/top_1.html
Old 02-12-06, 02:20 PM
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Politicians: Well, it could be a mistake. No, it's just booming property values. MORE $$$. Spend, Spend, Spend!!!!!!!"
Old 02-12-06, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Nick Danger
The most expensive piece of real estate in the country is only $125M. It was bought by Donald Trump as a fixer-upper.

http://www.uniquehomes.com/cms/ultimatehomes/top_1.html
75,000 SF...yea... nice size....
Old 02-13-06, 02:44 AM
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This cinches it. We're in a real estate bubble.
Old 02-13-06, 06:13 AM
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The White House is worth that much, including land. I looked it up many years ago in the D.C. Land records office. Hell, it has a freaking train underneath it!
Old 02-13-06, 10:22 AM
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Judging by my Chicago area tax bill this year (or, as I should call it "tax rape"), apparently my modest suburban home is worth somewhere in this vicinity.

At least, judging by the unbelievably brazen corruption, influence peddling, pork barrel, mob ties and dirty dealings of my local and state governing bodies, my money is going to good use.
Old 02-13-06, 10:57 AM
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Cicero?
Old 02-13-06, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by PrincessT
Cicero?
DuPage county. Cicero's former mayor was the wife of a mob boss which is completely ridiculous. DuPage at least has the tact to "elect" his nephew or something. No less corrupt, just not quite as dumb.

Hold on, isn't Glendale Heights in DuPage as well? I'm preaching to the converted , then.
Old 02-13-06, 12:32 PM
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I think a 3 bedroom, 1 bath, and no yard here in San Diego goes for about $ 400 million now. If not yet, by the end of the year.
Old 02-13-06, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Hiro11
DuPage county. Cicero's former mayor was the wife of a mob boss which is completely ridiculous. DuPage at least has the tact to "elect" his nephew or something. No less corrupt, just not quite as dumb.

Hold on, isn't Glendale Heights in DuPage as well? I'm preaching to the converted , then.
Indeed you are. Nearly $5000 for a modest 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath ranch with full basement and 3 car garage.
Old 02-13-06, 03:27 PM
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How much is Biltmore, the Vanderbilt estate outside of Asheville, worth?

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