Robert Gandy v. Jake Zimmerman, Assessor, St. Louis County, Missouri

November 4th, 2022


Complainant, ) Appeal No. 21-18224
) Parcel No. 13H240181
v. )
Respondent. )


Robert Gandy (Complainant) appeals the St Louis County Board of Equalization’s (BOE) decision finding the true value in money (TVM) of the subject property on January 1, 2021, was $135,000.  Complainant alleges overvaluation and asserts the TVM was $125,000.[1]  Complainant did not produce substantial and persuasive evidence of overvaluation.  The BOE decision is affirmed.  The TVM of the subject property on January 1, 2021, was $135,000.

The evidentiary hearing was held on June 22, 2022, via Webex.  Diana Gandy, Complainant’s wife and co-owner of the subject property, appeared pro se.  Respondent Jake Zimmerman, Assessor, St. Louis County, Missouri, was represented by counsel, Tim Bowe.


  1. The Subject Property. The subject residential real property is located at 7713 Wooddale Ln., Saint Louis, Missouri.  The subject property consists of a single family ranch-style home with a walk-out basement built in the 1960s.  The house has about 2,500 square feet of living space and includes three bedrooms and three bathrooms.  Complainant purchased the property around 1999.  Other than routine maintenance, Complainant has not made any improvements to the property in the last three years.
  2. Assessment and Valuation. The BOE determined the TVM of the subject property as of January 1, 2021, was $158,900.  The BOE independently determined the subject property’s appraised value as of January 1, 2021, was $135,000.
  3. Complainant’s Evidence. Diana Gandy, co-owner of the subject property, testified for Complainant.  Ms. Gandy testified that she is not a licensed appraiser, nor does she have professional experience or an educational background in residential appraisal.  Complainant introduced Exhibits A and B1 through B12.  Respondent did not object to either exhibit, and both exhibits were admitted into evidence.

Exhibit A is a document briefly summarizing Complainant’s argument for overvaluation and listing three comparable sales in the subject’s area that Complainant found.  Complainant testified that she feels that the assessment increase from 2019 to 2021 is high.  Complainant feels the increase is unreasonable given the fact that Complainant has not made any improvements or changes to the home since the last assessment.

Exhibits B1 through B12 consist of 12 photographs of the interior of the subject property.  The pictures highlight some of the dated features of the home as well as condition issues which need repair.  Using Exhibit B, Complainant testified that the house suffers from deterioration and that many rooms need upgrading due to age, such as the kitchen and bathrooms.  The kitchen has original cabinets from the 1960s, and the bathrooms have original flooring and wall tile also from that era.  In addition, the kitchen and laundry room’s flooring is in bad condition, containing several cracked tiles.  Structural damage is present in the short hallway between the main hallway and the dining room.  Cracks in the ceiling from the house settling have been repaired several times.  In the garage, the previous owners removed a fan which resulted in damage to the drywall in the ceiling.  Cracks are also present in the basement walls and other areas of the garage.  The one bathroom in the basement is unfinished, and there are leaks in the basement which has caused water damage.  Complainant discussed most of these issues with the BOE at that hearing.

Complainant mentioned three comparable sales which are listed on Exhibit A.  Complainant testified that she was told by the BOE that these sales could not be considered because the sales occurred after the valuation date, January 1, 2021.  Complainant chose these comparables as two are in Complainant’s subdivision.  According to Exhibit A, the two respective sales in Complainant’s neighborhood, 7770 Wooddale Ln and 7734 Wooddale Ln, sold for $130,000 and $102,000 respectively.  Other than the number of bedrooms and bathrooms of these proposed comparable sale properties, no other information is provided.

  1. Respondent’s Evidence. Respondent introduced Exhibit 1, the BOE’s October 29, 2021, Decision Letter.  Complainant did not object.  Exhibit 1 was admitted into evidence.
  2. Value. The TVM of the subject property as of January 1, 2021, was $135,000.


  1. Assessment and Valuation. Residential real property is assessed at 19% of its TVM as of January 1 of each odd-numbered year. Section 137.115.5(1)(a).  The TVM is “the fair market value of the property on the valuation date[.]”  Snider v. Casino Aztar/Aztar Mo. Gaming Corp., 156 S.W.3d 341, 346 (Mo. banc 2005) (internal quotation omitted).  The fair market value is “the price which the property would bring from a willing buyer when offered for sale by a willing seller.”  Mo. Baptist Children’s Home v. State Tax Comm’n, 867 S.W.2d 510, 512 (Mo. banc 1993).  “True value in money is defined in terms of value in exchange not value in use.”  Tibbs v. Poplar Bluff Assocs. I, L.P., 599 S.W.3d 1, 7 (Mo. App. S.D. 2020) (internal quotation omitted).  “Determining the true value in money is an issue of fact for the STC.”  Cohen v. Bushmeyer, 251 S.W.3d 345, 348 (Mo. App. E.D. 2008).

“For purposes of levying property taxes, the value of real property is typically determined using one or more of three generally accepted approaches.”  Snider, 156 S.W.3d at 346. The three generally accepted approaches are the cost approach, the income approach, and the comparable sales approach.  Id. at 346-48.  The STC has wide discretion in selecting the appropriate valuation method but “cannot base its decision on opinion evidence that fails to consider information that should have been considered under a particular valuation approach.”  Id., at 348.

  1. Evidence. “Although technical rules of evidence are not controlling in administrative hearings, fundamental rules of evidence are applicable.” Mo. Church of Scientology v. State Tax Comm’n, 560 S.W.2d 837, 839 (Mo. banc 1977). The hearing officer is the finder of fact and determines the credibility and weight of the evidence.   Kelly v. Mo. Dep’t of Soc. Servs., Family Support Div., 456 S.W.3d 107, 111 (Mo. App. W.D. 2015).
  2. Complainant’s Burden of Proof. The taxpayer bears the burden of proof and must show by a preponderance of the evidence that the property was overvalued.  Westwood P’ship v. Gogarty, 103 S.W.3d 152, 161 (Mo. App. E.D. 2003).  The BOE’s valuation is presumptively correct. Tibbs, 599 S.W.3d at 7.  The “taxpayer may rebut this presumption by presenting substantial and persuasive evidence that the valuation is erroneous.”  Id. (internal quotation omitted).  The taxpayer also must prove “the value that should have been placed on the property.” Id.           “Substantial evidence is that evidence which, if true, has probative force upon the issues, and from which the trier of fact can reasonably decide the case on the fact issues.”  Savage v. State Tax Comm’n, 722 S.W.2d 72, 77 (Mo. banc 1986) (internal quotation omitted).  Evidence is persuasive when it has “sufficient weight and probative value to convince the trier of fact.”  Daly v. P.D. George Co., 77 S.W.3d 645, 651 (Mo. App. E.D. 2002); see also White v. Dir. of Revenue, 321 S.W.3d 298, 305 (Mo. banc 2010) (noting the burden of persuasion is the “party’s duty to convince the fact-finder to view the facts in a way that favors that party”).
  3. Complainant Did Not Produce Substantial and Persuasive Evidence of Overvaluation.

Complainant did not establish that the BOE valuation was erroneous, nor that TVM of the subject property as of January 1, 2021 was $125,000.  Complainant did not produce substantial and persuasive evidence rebutting the presumptively correct BOE value.

The comparable sales approach is typically used to value residential properties improved with a single-family home.  “The comparable sales approach uses prices paid for similar properties in arms-length transactions and adjusts those prices to account for differences between the properties.”  Snider, 156 S.W.3d at 347-48 (internal quotation omitted).  Complainant offered no evidence of comparable sales or any evidence proving Complainant’s opinion value of $125,000.

Concerning the condition issues with the subject property evidenced in Exhibit A, Complainant provided no evidence providing a way to quantify the effect of these issues on value or showing the BOE value does not account for these issues.  The fact that the BOE lowered Respondent’s assessed value of $158,900 to $135,000 suggests that the BOE most likely did take these condition issues into account.

Complainant listed three comparable sales in Exhibit A.  However, little details were given regarding these sales or the properties themselves.  Additionally, Complainant’s comparable sales were not analyzed using accepted appraisal methods, for example making appropriate market adjustments to determine value of the subject.  Last, Complainant did not offer testimony of an appraiser, nor an appraisal of the property as evidence of the TVM of the property as of January 1, 2021.

While a property owner’s opinion of value is generally admissible, the opinion lacks “probative value where it is shown to have been based upon improper elements or an improper foundation.”  Shelby Cty. R-IV Sch. Dist. v. Herman, 392 S.W.2d 609, 613 (Mo. 1965); see also Cohen v. Bushmeyer, 251 S.W.3d 345, 349 (Mo. App. W.D. 2008).  The lack of evidence relating to a recognized valuation method renders Complainant’s proposed value speculative and unpersuasive.  Id.  Complainant did not produce substantial and persuasive evidence showing the BOE overvalued the subject property and “the value that should have been placed on the property.”  Tibbs, 599 S.W.3d at 7.

Complainant’s evidence does not provide the necessary foundation and elements to support Complainant’s overvaluation claim.   Because the STC “cannot base its decision on opinion evidence that fails to consider information that should have been considered” under a recognized approach to value, Snider, 156 S.W.3d at 348, the BOE decision is affirmed.


Complainant did not produce substantial and persuasive evidence of overvaluation.  The BOE decision is affirmed.  The TVM of the subject property as of January 1, 2021, was $135,000, with an assessed value of $26,650.

Application for Review

A party may file an application for review of this decision within 30 days of the mailing date set forth in the certificate of service for this decision.  The application “shall contain specific detailed grounds upon which it is claimed the decision is erroneous.”  Section 138.432.  The aplication must be in writing, and may be mailed to the State Tax Commission of Missouri, P.O. Box 146, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0146, or emailed to  A copy of the application must be sent to each person listed below in the certificate of service.  Failure to state specific facts or law upon which the application for review is based will result in summary denial.  Section 138.432.

Disputed Taxes

The Collector of St. Louis County, and the collectors of all affected political subdivisions therein, shall continue to hold the disputed taxes pending the possible filing of an application for review, unless the disputed taxes have been disbursed pursuant to a court order under the provisions of section 139.031.

SO ORDERED November 4, 2022.

Benjamin C. Slawson

Senior Hearing Officer
State Tax Commission

Certificate of Service

I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing has been electronically mailed and/or sent by U.S. Mail on November 4, 2022, to: Complainant(s) and/or Counsel for Complainant(s), the County Assessor and/or Counsel for Respondent and County Collector.

Noah Shepard
Legal Coordinator

[1] Complainant timely filed a complaint for review of assessment. The State Tax Commission (STC) has authority to hear and decide Complainant’s appeal.  Mo. Const. art. X, sec. 14; Section 138.430.1, RSMo 2000.  All statutory citations are to RSMo 2000, as amended.