Government & Politics

Reduced! Fancy sink included

Businessman and unsuccessful mayoral candidate John Georges put his French Quarter property on the market recently for $1.5 million.

That’s more than double the value the city assessor put on the property – and upon which Georges has been paying property taxes.

Georges bought the property in 2006 for $800,000 and paid taxes on that amount in the next year, but the assessment has dropped since then to $617,970. He said he pays about $24,000 in taxes and insurance on the property.

The recently listed Chartres Street property, which is not his residence, has a street-level boutique and an apartment upstairs. With 2,625 square feet of space, the asking price breaks down to $571 a square foot.

In a telephone interview, Georges said the assessment hasn’t caught up with the extensive renovations he’s done to the property, even though he notified the city through the permit process of all the work he did. For instance, you wouldn’t believe what the kitchen sink and refrigerator are worth, he said.

He said he did the renovations after marketing the property for a little over $1 million and getting no offers.

This property isn’t indicative of the city’s notoriously uneven property tax assessments, he said.

“There is a problem and this in not an example of the problem,” he said.

He said his commercial tenant has gone 10 months without paying rent because of the recession, suggesting that, along with a perceived lowering of the rental value, this is part of the reason the city reduced his assessment.

“The revenue does not equal” the tax burden, Georges said.

Georges’ mansion on exclusive Audubon Place brought him some ribbing during the mayor’s race. Candidate Mitch Landrieu, working to portray Georges as a detached member of the city’s patrician class, said he looked up the bill for George’s property on the private street.

“I didn’t laugh at your property tax bill –  I was in awe of it,” Landrieu said on a WIST-AM radio appearance in January while on the campaign trail.

The city assessor website shows a value of $3,322,200 for that property, and Georges said he pays more than $40,000 a year in taxes on that property alone.

With 9 percent of the vote, Georges finished a distant third behind Landrieu.

If Georges gets anywhere near his asking price on the Charters Street property, the owner may have a little sticker shock when the tax bill comes due. That’s because the new assessment is based on the sales price.

After a lengthy interview with The Lens, Georges said Thursday that he planned to call his agent to reduce the price to $1.25 million.

Indeed, the new listing price Friday is for that lower amount.

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About Karen Gadbois

Karen Gadbois co-founded The Lens. She now covers New Orleans government issues and writes about land use. With television reporter Lee Zurik she exposed widespread misuse of city recovery funds and led to guilty pleas in federal court. Her work attracted some of journalism's highest honors, including a Peabody Award, an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award and a gold medal from Investigative Reporters and Editors. She can be reached at (504) 606-6013.

  • Maria Lopez

    WOW. So he lowered the price a quarter of a million after a phone call? That’s hilarious. Guess it’s a real “make offer” deal.

  • Forget this news business, Karen, you need to get into real estate. Clearly you have superhuman powers to negotiate a good deal.

    This was a funny story. Georges is always good for a laugh, isn’t he? Wonder if he’s foolish enough to run again.

  • John georges

    This not what I told the reporter. I am paying taxes on 900,000 not 500,000. Please recheck the facts. The property was listed for 1,099,000 for almost year with no offers before we decide to renovate and raise the price. We have had no offers so we lowered it to 1.250,000. Please remove this from your website because it is a lie.

  • ethan

    John: Look at the 2010 assessment on your property per the city’s website. 617K it is.

    Owner and Parcel Information
    Owner Name GEORGES JOHN D
    GEORGES DATHEL C Today’s Date July 17, 2010
    Mailing Address P O BOX 23508
    ELMWOOD, LA 70183 Municipal District 2
    Location Address 434 CHARTRES ST Tax Bill Number 206101616
    Property Class C Special Tax District
    Subdivision Name Land Area (sq ft) 1539
    Square 28 Lot B
    Book 61 Folio 011
    Line 019 Parcel Map
    Legal Description 1. SQ 28 LOT B CHARTRES 28X57
    2. 1/2 RESIDENTIAL

    Value Information
    Year Land
    Value Improvement
    Value Total
    Value Assessed
    Value Assessed
    Value Total
    Value Homestead
    Value Taxable
    Assessment Age
    Freeze Disability
    Freeze Assmnt
    2010 $ 53,900 $ 564,070 $ 617,970 $ 5,390 $ 84,610 $ 90,000 $ 0 $ 90,000
    2009 $ 53,900 $ 564,070 $ 617,970 $ 5,390 $ 84,610 $ 90,000 $ 0 $ 90,000
    2008 $ 53,900 $ 753,800 $ 807,700 $ 5,390 $ 113,070 $ 118,460 $ 0 $ 118,460

    Sale/Transfer Information
    Sale/Transfer Date Price Grantor Grantee Notarial Archive Number Instrument Number
    04-12-2006 $ 800,000 MEAGAN F HARDCASTLE TRUST GEORGES JOHN D 06-11850 321321
    09-03-2004 $ 800,000 04-45677 000291046

    Return to Main Search Page Orleans Home
    The Orleans Parish Assessor’s Office makes every effort to produce the most accurate information possible. No warranties, expressed or implied, are provided for the data herein, its use or interpretation. Website Updated: July 12, 2010

  • John georges

    Ethan the bill is 12,000 a year do you believe the value is 617k on 12000 of taxes?or maybe there is something wrong with the form you are looking at? It obvious that the lens is misguided, misinformed and spreading the wrong information. I suspect they are not objective and have some political agenda. Either way it is obvious the property had fallen in value since katrina and the asking price is no indication of true value. This is not a news story but rather an attempt to create controversy when there is none. We listed the property for 1099000 for a year before deciding to fix the upstairs. I share you concern for people not paying their fair share however this is not an example of that.

  • ethan

    John–this isn’t a “form” this the actual property record, per the Orleans Parish Assessor’s Office.

    You can go here and have a look:

    If there’s a discrepancy between what you’re paying in property taxes and the assessment on the property you should contact the Orleans Parish Assessor’s Office and have them correct the record.

    Also, just wondering: if the asking price is “no indication of the true value” of the property then why is the asking price set where it is?

  • John georges

    What is 90k on far right for?

  • John georges

    Let’ see. Generally the buyers offer less than asking.considering the asking price was 1099000 when the assessment was made then the real value is less than that number. Considering no one offered anything then it was not worth the asking. Now my wife and I repainted,repaired, put new ac units in and other items we hope to get an offer.if it is worth so much how come no one has offered. Your argument is flawed. In addition one must compare other sites with same size within 4 block area to see what they pay to see if anyone is paying 12k on that type of building. The upstairs is empty and the downstairs is month to month at half the rent when I purchased. The drop is rent is a result of post katrina values. I question the motives of the blog. Have a nice summer. I plan to. As for this bill my cpa pays it. He will address it with the city.

  • civitch

    So it’s worth more because of the value added by the renovations, but at the same time, it’s worth less because of the recession. Which only makes sense if you’re picking one value for your assessment and one for your sales price. Which it kind of sounds like is what happened. Perhaps Mr. Georges would care to comment on the discrepancy.

  • John georges

    This is the difficult job of the asessor however no one should try to imply that I am not paying a fair tax amount. When one takes into account what the neighbors are paying, what the purchase price of the property is, the change in revenue it generates and the fact there has never been an offer on the property it is safe to say there is no justification for choosing this property as an example of anything. The last property tax bill was 12000. That implies a values higher than what this blog is implying. I suggest they are misguided and are doing more damage thatn good.

  • Matt

    There appears to be quite a discrepancy in the permitting records.

    There are two permits from after Georges took over the property in 2006. An electrical permit from May 31, 2007:

    Then there is a general renovation permit issued on March 15, 2010:

    The description of the work is:
    “Remodeling work to include: Preparation for painting,Sanding,Drywall,Stairs;Downspouts as per VCCP-10-0147”

    The job value is listed as $35,000.

    “In a telephone interview, Georges said the assessment hasn’t caught up with the extensive renovations he’s done to the property, even though he notified the city through the permit process of all the work he did. ‘For instance, you wouldn’t believe what the kitchen sink and refrigerator are worth,’ he said.”

    So if the difference between the list price and the assessment (hundreds of thousands of dollars) is, according to Georges, reflective of the value of the improvements, why doesn’t the value stated on the permit (as well as the description) reflect that? And if hundreds of thousnds of dollars of work were truly done on the property, then Mr. Georges owes the city extra in permitting fees.

    A building permit costs $60 plus $5 per $1000 of job value. Since the property is in the Vieux Carre, one then adds 50% of the total permit fees on top of that. So, if the renovations were actually, say, $500,000 (admittedly probably far above the actual cost, since Mr. Georges is likely puffing up their value in his quote, but let’s just take him at his word), then the city would be owed an extra:

    current charge: (5 x 35) = 175
    add 60
    equals 235
    then add 50% VCC charge
    current total is $352.50

    for job value of $500,000:
    5 x 500 = 2500
    add 60
    equals 2560
    then add 50% VCC charge
    final fee would be $3975

    So the city would be owed an extra 3975 – 352.50, or 3622.50

    Those are just rough numbers.

  • John georges

    The only number that matters is the far right number. That number is 90000. That means the tax was based on 900 thousand. What is your address so we can put yours on this website?

  • Matt

    Dear Mr. Georges,

    For a guy who has run for public office multiple times, you don’t seem to understand the concept of public records very well.

  • badbetonthebayou

    John, don’t you have a $200 dinner to attend with the train folks? But seriously, you really don’t seem to understand the insight one can have from the New Orleans Assessors website and the state’s corporations database…business dealings, video poker fronts, reduced property taxes…records on-line, it’s almost enough to make one wonder what kind of dealings Minacore and Geocore have?