Property Appraiser sues to raise Setai Miami Beach condo owners’ assessed value

The Setai
The Setai

Miami-Dade Property Appraiser Pedro Garcia is contesting a combined $163.7 million in 2014 property tax reductions awarded to 132 unit owners at The Setai Miami Beach.

On May 26, Garcia sued the owners, the Setai Resort and Residences Condominium Association and Leon Biegalski, executive director of Florida’s Department of Revenue in Miami-Dade Circuit Court. The suit attempts to reverse a decision by the county’s Value Adjustment Board, which lowered the assessed value of the 132 units two years ago.

The dispute does not include the hotel portion of the Setai, which was purchased by the Nakash family of Jordache fame in 2014 for $90 million. However, the Nakashes own several Setai units identified by Garcia, including a 23rd floor duplex the family recently purchased for $7 million from a trust held by relatives of New York billionaire and Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump.

Attorneys for the Nakash family and other unit owners could not immediately be reached for comment. A Garcia spokesman said the property appraiser’s office doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

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In 2014, Garcia assessed the market value of the 132 units at a combined $409 million. The owners protested and went before the Value Adjustment Board, which reduced Garcia’s assessed market value by 40 percent, or $245.6 million. According to the property appraiser, the board’s reduction is below the just value allowed by state law.

Garcia is asking the court to reinstate his original $409 million assessment, which means unit owners would owe approximately $3.3  million more in property taxes.

It’s worth noting that the total market value for the 132 units last year was $476 million, but because of the reduction in 2014 assessed values, Garcia could only assess a value of $328 million for 2015. Under state law, there is a max cap of 10 percent for annual valuation increases.

Earlier this month, The Real Deal reported that Garcia is also seeking to restore a combined $24 million to the assessed market value of the Ritz-Carlton Residences, Sunny Isles Beach and the former Burdines redevelopment site in downtown Miami. He filed separate lawsuits against the owners of those two properties the same week he sued the Setai owners.