Gateway Residences LLC v. Jake Zimmerman, Assessor St. Louis County

July 31st, 2018



  ) Appeal No. 17-112827
             Complainant, ) Parcel/Loc. No. 17H420264
  ) Appeal No. 17-112830
v. ) Parcel/Loc. No. 10J211385










The determination of the true value in money (TVM) set be Respondent Jake Zimmerman, Assessor, St. Louis County, Missouri, (Respondent) is AFFIRMED.  Complainant Gateway Residences, LLC, (Complainant) did not present substantial and persuasive evidence to rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the BOE.


The evidentiary hearing in this case was scheduled to begin at 3:00 p.m., June 25, 2018, at the St. Louis County Government Administration Building in Clayton, Missouri.  Complainant and its counsel of record, Vivek Malik, failed to appear at the evidentiary hearing and failed to prosecute the appeal.  Respondent appeared by Counsel Steve Robson, who announced ready for trial.  Case decided by Senior Hearing Officer Amy S. Westermann (Hearing Officer).


In each appeal, Complainant appealed on the ground of overvaluation.  In each appeal, Complainant did not appeal to the St. Louis County Board of Equalization (BOE) because Complainant acquired the subject properties after the deadline for filing an appeal with the BOE had passed.  Respondent set the true value in money (TVM) of the subject properties as set forth in the following table:

Appeal No. 17-112827 17H420264 $25,100
Appeal No. 17-112830 10J211385 $46,100


The State Tax Commission (STC) takes this appeal to determine the TVM for the subject property as of January 1, 2017.

The Hearing Officer enters the following Decision and Order.


  1. Jurisdiction over these appeals is proper. Complainant timely appealed to the STC.[1]
  2. The subject properties are identified as set forth in the following table:
Appeal No. 17-112827 17H420264 6505 Julian

St. Louis, MO

Appeal No. 17-112830 10J211385 6814 Eisele

St. Louis, MO


  1. By Order dated February 5, 2018, (February 2018 Order) the STC set the following schedule:
  Date Due
Prehearing Conference/Good Faith Meeting of Counsel for the Parties On or before 03/09/18
First Joint Status Report on progress of appeals to SHO (by email) 03/09/18
Complainant’s Written Certification to Prosecute Appeal On or before  03/16/18
Initial Disclosures by Both Parties On or before 03/30/18
Simultaneous Filing and Exchange of Exhibits and Written Direct Testimony and Expert Disclosures On or before 05/18/18
Objections and Rebuttal Evidence 06/01/18
Responses to Objections and Surrebuttal Evidence 06/15/18
Evidentiary Hearings 6/25/18 3:00 p.m.


  1. The February 2018 Order stated that, if a motion for continuance needed to be filed, it must be filed not less than five days before the date specified for the event which stands to be affected by the motion, not including intermediate Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays, pursuant to 12 CSR 30-3.050(6) and Missouri Rule of Civil Procedure 44.01(a).
  2. The record in these cases contains no joint status report, no written certification to prosecute the appeals, no initial disclosures for Complainant, and no evidence and exhibits for Complainant. The record in these cases contains Respondent’s certificate of service for Respondent’s initial disclosures.  The record is devoid of any request for a continuance of the Evidentiary Hearing.
  3. At approximately 3:15 p.m., on June 25, 2018, the Evidentiary Hearing was commenced.  Neither Complainant nor counsel for Complainant appeared.  Respondent appeared by counsel, who announced ready for trial.  Respondent’s witness also appeared.  Following a grace period for Complainant and/or counsel for Complainant to appear, the matter was placed on the record for the entry of decision noting Complainant’s and/or Complainant’s counsel’s failure to appear and to prosecute the appeal and affirming the decision of Respondent.



The Commission has jurisdiction to hear this appeal and correct any assessment which is shown to be unlawful, unfair, arbitrary, or capricious, including the application of any abatement.  The Hearing Officer shall issue a decision and order affirming, modifying, or reversing the determination of the BOE and correcting any assessment which is unlawful, unfair, improper, arbitrary, or capricious.  Article X, Section 14, Mo. Const. of 1945; Sections 138.430, 138.431, 138.431.4, RSMo.

A taxpayer may appeal directly to the STC where (a) the assessor fails to notify the current owner of the property of an initial assessment or an increase in assessment from the previous year, prior to 30 days before the deadline for filing an appeal with the BOE, including instances in which real property was transferred and the prior owner was notified; or (b) a new owner purchased real property less than 30 days before the deadline for filing an appeal to the BOE or later in the tax year, regardless if the assessment is an initial assessment, an increase or decrease in assessment, or an assessment established in the prior year.  12 CSR 30-3.010(1)(B)1.  Appeals filed under this subsection shall be filed within 30 days after a county official mailed a tax statement or otherwise first communicated the assessment or the amount of taxes to the owner or on or before December 31 of the tax year in question, whichever is later.  Id.  Proof of late notice, the date of purchase, and/or notice sent to the prior owner shall be attached to, or set forth in, the complaint.  Id.

Presumptions In Appeals

There is a presumption of validity, good faith, and correctness of assessment by the county board of equalization.  Hermel, Inc. v. STC, 564 S.W.2d 888, 895 (Mo. banc 1978); Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Co. v. STC, 436 S.W.2d 650, 656 (Mo. 1968); May Department Stores Co. v. STC, 308 S.W.2d 748, 759 (Mo. 1958).  In order to prevail, a complainant must rebut the presumption of correct assessment by presenting substantial and persuasive evidence as to the proper taxation of the subject property on the tax day at issue.  Hermel, 564 S.W.2d at 895; Cupples-Hesse Corporation v. State Tax Commission, 329 S.W.2d 696, 702 (Mo. 1959).  There is no presumption that the taxpayer’s opinion is correct.  In an appeal before the Commission, the taxpayer still bears the burden of proof because the taxpayer is the moving party seeking affirmative relief.  Therefore, a complainant must prove by a preponderance of substantial and persuasive the evidence the vital elements of the case, i.e., the assessment was “unlawful, unfair, improper, arbitrary[,] or capricious.”  See, Westwood Partnership v. Gogarty, 103 S.W.3d 152, 161 (Mo. App. E.D. 2003); Reeves v. Snider, 115 S.W.3d 375, 379 (Mo. App. S.D. 2003); Daly v. P. D. George Co., 77 S.W.3d 645, 648 (Mo. App. E.D. 2002); Industrial Development Authority of Kansas City v. State Tax Commission of Missouri, 804 S.W.2d 387, 392 (Mo. App. W.D. 1991).


Complainant and/or counsel for Complainant failed to appear and to prosecute the appeal and failed to present substantial and persuasive evidence to prove that Respondent’s assessment was unlawful, unfair, improper, arbitrary, or capricious.  Furthermore, Complainant did not timely file a request for a continuance of the Evidentiary Hearing or otherwise communicate with the Hearing Officer.  Therefore, Respondent’s determination of the TVM of the subject properties as of January 1, 2017, is affirmed as set forth in the table below:

Appeal No. 17-112827 17H420264 $25,100
Appeal No. 17-112830 10J211385 $46,100


Application for Review

Complainant may file with the Commission an application for review of this Decision within thirty days of the mailing date set forth in the Certificate of Service.  The application shall contain specific grounds upon which it is claimed the decision is erroneous.  Said application must be in writing addressed to the State Tax Commission of Missouri, P.O. Box 146, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0146, and a copy of said application must be sent to each person at the address listed below in the certificate of service.  Failure to state specific facts or law upon which the appeal is based may result in summary denial.  Section 138.432 RSMo 2000.

The Collector of St. Louis County, as well as the collectors of all affected political subdivisions therein, shall continue to hold the disputed taxes pending a filing of an Application for Review, unless said taxes have been disbursed pursuant to a court order under the provisions of Section 139.031.8, RSMo 2000, as amended.

Any Finding of Fact that is a Conclusion of Law or Decision shall be so deemed.  Any Decision that is a Finding of Fact or Conclusion of Law shall be so deemed.

SO ORDERED July 31, 2018.



Amy S. Westermann

Senior Hearing Officer


Certificate of Service

I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing has been sent electronically or mailed postage prepaid this 31st day of July, 2018, to: Complainants(s) counsel and/or Complainants, the County Assessor and/or Counsel for Respondent and County Collector.


Jacklyn Wood

Legal Coordinator

[1] In Appeal No. 17-112830, Respondent filed a Motion to Dismiss Appeal on the grounds that Complainant had not provided proof of the date of purchase of the property at issue in that appeal.  Respondent provided notice that he would ask for a ruling on the Motion to Dismiss immediately prior to the Evidentiary Hearing.  Respondent alleged that the subject property had been transferred by General Warranty Deed to Complainant on or about February 2, 2018.  An unsigned settlement statement attached to Complainant’s Complaint for Review form is dated December 29, 2017, a few days prior to the filing deadline.  However, given that Complainant failed to appear and failed to prosecute the appeal, the Hearing Officer need not rule on the Motion to Dismiss, which is moot under the circumstances.