Orange County Appraiser Loses Primary

Incumbant Property Appraiser Rick Singh has been engaged in a lengthy legal battle over assessed values of Walt Disney World property including hotels and Disney Vacation Club timeshares. 

Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Villas

Orange County Appraiser Rick Singh lost a Tuesday primary to challenger Amy Mercado. Singh received 32% of votes to Mercado's 60%. 

In recent years, Singh's appraisal methods have resulted in sharply higher taxes for Disney resort property. Disney filed a number of legal challenges, earning a significant victory in June when the Fifth District Court of Appeals ruled against Singh's valuation and appraisal method.

Weeks later, the court reversed a portion of that opinion, upholding use of the Rushmore method. However other aspects of the June ruling--which found that Singh improperly included revenues from restaurants, spas and other ancillary services--remain in force. The Appraiser's office was ordered to recaluclate values, which should result in lower taxes. Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Resorts were specifically named in the June ruling, however suits have been filed for other Walt Disney World resorts. 

In 2018, Singh's office was investigated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for improper recordkeeping on the use of county vehicles. No charges were filed. 

Voters elected Singh to consecutive terms in 2012 and 2016. The November 2020 election will pit Mercado against two write-in candidates for the Appraiser's office. 

Thanks to Michael for the tip!