Tulsa County Assessor Ken Yazel sued for legal fees
BY KEVIN CANFIELD World Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 06, 2013
3/06/13 at 3:53 AM
Attorneys for the William K. Warren Medical Research Center and Montereau are seeking to recoup $112,043 in legal fees paid by their clients to defend themselves against County Assessor Ken Yazel's claim that they owed property taxes on portions of their continuum-of-care retirement facilities.
The lawsuit, filed in Tulsa County District Court last week, seeks $100,213 for legal fees and expenses paid to the law firm of Wohlgemuth Chandler & Dowdell and $11,830 for legal fees paid to the law firm of James, Potts & Wulfers.
A Tulsa County district judge in January issued a summary judgment dismissing Yazel's appeal of the county Board of Equalization's cancellation of property tax assessments on Montereau.
Early last year, Yazel broke from his own long-held practice of exempting the facilities in their entirety and informed them that parts of their operations would be subject to property taxes.
Yazel said at the time that the change in classification came about as a result of a routine re-examination by his office of 2,500 tax- exempt properties.
Such re-examinations are part of the legally mandated duties of the Assessor's Office, Yazel said.
Judge Mary Fitzgerald in June denied Montereau's request that Yazel be required to classify its properties as tax-exempt, saying the court did not have jurisdiction in the matter because Montereau had not exhausted its administrative appeals.
Later that month, the county Board of Equalization canceled property tax assessments on Montereau, Tulsa Jewish Retirement and Health Care Center and Baptist Village of Owasso.
Yazel then appealed the board's ruling to District Court.
The Tulsa Jewish Retirement and Health Care Center and Baptist Village of Owasso have yet to receive a ruling on their requests for summary judgment.
According to the Assessor's Office, Montereau owed an estimated $1.5 million in property taxes, Baptist Village of Owasso an estimated $158,503 and the Jewish Retirement Center an estimated $107,300.
In January, District Judge Linda Morrissey dismissed a separate lawsuit filed by Yazel challenging the constitutionality of the state law that exempts continuum-of-care retirement communities from paying property taxes.
Original Print Headline: Assessor is sued for legal fees
Kevin Canfield 918-581-8313