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.

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...