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Monday, February 04, 2008

Commission candidate criticizes sheriff appraisals

Realtor Ed Rothenberg, who is running against Commission President Todd Portune in November, criticizes Sheriff Simon Leis' use of "cronies" as property appraisals.

Read the Enquirer story on the issue.

Rothenberg said the commissioners should correct the problem and the sheriff should be "called on the carpet." Read more of his thoughts below:

sheriff leis and his crony appraiser friends.
-Greg Korte's story in saturday's or sunday's paper revealed a blatant disregard for taxpayers money by sheriff leis. He uses about 6 or so old buddies to appraise the foreclosures sold at the sheriff sale.
They get 375 per house for doing a quick "superficial" appraisal. Licensed appraisers usually charge about $250 to $300 for a "normal" appraisal.
The "superficial" appraisal is nothing more than a quick drive by usually without getting out of the car and then later a quick computer check to learn what the price the property sold for and some "comps". Comps are sales of similar homes that have sold in the past year or so. It is a quick
5 to 10 minute job.
Most of these foreclosures were bought in the past 3 years. So usually Leis' appraisers usually just look at the sales price of the foreclosed home to determine price. This is thus a several minute job on the computer.
At the sheriff sale, the starting price is 2/3rds of the appraised price given by Leis' appraisers. In most cases, the lender buys the property because the loan and penalties are far more than a bargain price for normal bids by individuals.
A "normal" appraisal requires the appraiser go inside and all around the property, note the condition and mechanics, etc. Then later a detailed computer check for comps and a write up of the market method and the cost per square yard method (also known as the cost to build less depreciation).
I could easily hire licensed appraisers to do this kind of work and knock out about 10 to 15 houses a day for $50 to $75 per house.
The sheriff gives his friends a car and driver which is yet another unnecessary cost. Professional appraisers do their own driving and pay for their own gas.
As consideration for their cushy deals, the friends of Leis gave about $1000 a year to the sheriff's campaign fund. Once again an obvious blatant disregards for the tax payers.
I would imagine that the county could save hundreds of thousands a year if appraisals were handled professionally and honestly.
I also understand that for years the friends of Leis were getting paid a "percentage" of the price they appraised the homes for. This is unheard of in the appraisal field. This was changed just recently because it created an incentive for the appraisers to appraise high. And we don't want that sort of conflict of interest.
I would hope that the three commissioners take action to correct this as it is dishonest and wasteful. They are crying they need to save money...well here's an opportunity to save hundreds of thousands a year.
I can't believe the sheriff allowed this to go on. HE SHOULD BE CALLED ON THE CARPET AND REPRIMANDED
ed rothenberg


at 3:17 PM, February 04, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone needs to tell this idiot that there are no tax dollars involved in the process. Fees are paid by the purchaser. Just what we need on the Commission, some moron who goes off half cocked without all the facts.

at 3:45 PM, February 04, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Rothenberg- The appraisals are paid out of the proceeds of the sale - not by taxpayers. While that contributes to the debt of foreclosure making it that much more difficult for home owners in distress to "save" their homes by paying off the costs - it still, is not taxpayer dollars.

Personally, since you are a veteran realtor, I am surprised that you don't know the distinction in your own line of business, while espousing on how the commissioners aren't doing their jobs.

I greatly respoect anyone willing to throw their hat in the race - that's good citizenship at its finest. But thrwoing in your two cents when you haven't reseaqrched the facts - just isn't smart and doesn't help anyone.

So, how do you propose addressing the waste of real taxpayer dollars by independently elected officials in the county through the board of commissioners?

at 5:29 PM, February 04, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's my question >> Why does the Sheriff hire appraisers? >> Wouldn't it make more sense for an Administrator to be doing something like this?

Just another perk for the Sheriff and his good, ol' boys?
And as always, Simon is outraged that anyone would question him?

at 7:30 PM, February 04, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why don't they save the money and
just use Auditor Dusty's values?

at 7:31 PM, February 04, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Commissioners do not control
the Sheriff or any other
independently elected official.
Maybe Rothenberg should know
something about the office he's

at 8:11 PM, February 04, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr.Rothenberg with your comments, I don’t think the citizens of Hamilton County will have to worry about you winning any seat on County Commission.
Sheriff Simon L. Leis Jr. is doing a great job and Hamilton County is grateful to have him as their Sheriff.
Rothenberg you are way out of your league. Stick with the boneheads at COAST.

at 9:39 PM, February 04, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...


Hey, Eddy:

Take a look at all those, so called, farmers getting property tax reductions by claiming to be exclusive commercial farms ?

There is even one 'congressional candidate' complaining about farm subsidies while having his own hand in the cookie jar !

How about that, car-may-go, Country Club Golf Course claiming to be a commercial farm ?

It is costing the tax-payer millions each year !

We wonder if those appraisers are traveling the (CAUV) dusty rhodes, as well !

PATHETIC 'HypocRites' !


at 9:55 PM, February 04, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rothenberg has no chance against the big money - you guys are wasting your key strokes attacking him.
How about one of you old boys answering either 5:29 or 7:30 above? How are these audits of any value above Dusty's values - especially if their just drivebys?Why does Simple Simon have the authority to appoint "auditors" who then payback into his campaign fund? Makes no sense.

at 9:58 PM, February 04, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

7:30 >> good question ("why not just use the Auditors values?")

Answer = Leis' campaign wouldn;t get any kickbacks that way. Crock.

at 10:03 PM, February 04, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Simon is exhibit #1 why the Republicans didn't want any real elections. T-ODD is exhibit #1 why the Democrats didn't want any real elections.
Guess who loses?

at 10:11 PM, February 04, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aside from cozy deals with his buddies, what the Sheriff should be in trouble for is using his office's assets - again - to promote a private venture.

As a taxpayer, I don't want to pay the salary of a cop playing chauffer to Leis' buddies and helping them make money and I don't want to pay for the gas, and I don't want the wear and tear on a cop car.

These are the misappropriations of taxpayers' dollars that Leis needs to repay (whether he gets it back from his friends or not)to us taxpayers.

Go back 3 years - and add it all up and pay taxpayers back for an inappropriate use of our money.

And, by the way, these appraisals are supposed to be "independent". How independent can they be if they're all in the same car and obviously comparing notes as they conduct their assessments. None of these appraisals should be permitted - doing it as a team is ridiculous, a fraud, perpetutrated with the assistance of the Sheriff.

at 10:16 PM, February 04, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

The independence of elected officials, operating autonomously without other elected officials exercising their duties in the system of checks and balances is what is causing soooo much waste of tax dollars everywhere.

These guys have had carte blanche independence without question for so long --- it's incredible.

When will the county auditor start "auditing" the finances of this county? When will the commissioners exercise some diligence over the operation of offices paid for with county tax dollars.

The county and auditor abicated their authority and power in these areas for so long under one party rule --- what is the excuse now?

at 10:47 PM, February 04, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Simon shouldn't be "called on the carpet".
Just eliminate a goofy system that serves no purpose other than to line a politician's (currently Leis & pals) pockets.

This story will die in the same black hole as the Bengals Stadium Crime.

at 4:11 AM, February 05, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear God. Have we come to this? Ed Rothenberg?

What next?

at 10:11 AM, February 05, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

The county auditor has NO AUTHORITY under state law to "audit the finances" of any county office. Period.

The State Auditor has that authority. It would be so helpful if bloggers knew what they were talking about before they wrote.

at 12:44 PM, February 05, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Sheriff hires the auditors because it's a 'Sheriff's Sale' (auction). The drive by is to asses a general current condition of the property, something the Auditor's appraised value would not show. The apppraisers made a great deal of money last year due to the record number of forecloseurs.

Having said that, it's clear that these jobs should not go to the Shriff's campaign contributors. It's a payoff for cronies and contributors, and it needs to be stopped.

at 7:23 PM, February 05, 2008 Anonymous COAST is TOAST said...

This clown is another COASTer. No way he gets more than 10% of the vote.

at 8:31 PM, February 05, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good post/info 12:44!
Still don't understand any "Sheriff" involvement in any of this. If they haven't paid taxes to the Treasurer, why isn't this sensibly in that jurisdiction? If they need to be arrested, turn Simon loose. Otherwise, "conduct an auction"?? I'm afraid to ask, "who hires the auctioneers"?

at 1:32 AM, February 06, 2008 Anonymous Prosecute Simon Leis said...

Way to go Mr. Rothenberg! Ed is one of the few elected officials or candidates with the courage to stand up to the abusive Senile Sheriff Simon Leis.

This is in-your-face cronyism from Simon leis. Hiring appraisers, who aren't even qualified to do the job, paying well beyond market rate, and giving the job to big campaign donors is exactly the type of pay-to-play that we've come to despise. I hope the County Commissioners and Prosecutor are looking into these decisions.

at 12:15 PM, February 06, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 8:31, These homes are being auctioned due to forecloser by the lenders who hold the mortgages. Under Ohio law it is the Sheriff of each County who supervises and holds these auctions. This is because the county sheriff is also responsible for acting as the 'police force' for the court system in each county, they serve summons and supeonas, run the jail system and provide security in the courthouse.

FYI, the 'deputy' driving the appraisers is not a seputy who would conduct street patrols. They are the personell who drive around serving summons to court. They are deputized, but are not trained police officers, per se.

at 12:32 PM, February 06, 2008 Anonymous Hamilton Co. Republican said...

1:32 AM sockpuppet-


Keep crying from the political sidelines. No one cares what you COASTers have to say.

at 5:23 PM, February 06, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

With all the mishandling of almost everything, the county has one more person,a Republican, who was basically kicked out of Columbus early to TAKE a job that was opened just for her to get her back to Cincy. This was to get her in place to run for Clerk of Courts. So using other higher ups to get what you want is nothing new. The cronie system in Hamilton County is very alive and well!!
Oh yes, her name: Patty Clancy.

at 8:24 PM, February 06, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

12:15 >> Thanks again for factual info (so rare on these blogs).
So what Simon does is legal political patronage common thoughout Ohio? I can live with that.
Only hard part is Simon getting so outraged at questions about this >> doesn't he understand how it looks? And how thousands of people would love to be one of "his" appraisers?

at 2:01 PM, February 08, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Auditor has the authority under the Ohio Revised Code to examine all papers and documents to determine if a warrant of the county is legitimate and conducted condusive with Ohio law.

Dusty ?has the authority.

In his defense, I admit the law is vague and Dusty has fought in the past for greater powers and expressed authority to act as an "auditor" as denoted by the title.

This would be good legislation -- who'll forward it?

at 5:42 PM, February 08, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Greg Korte's story in saturday's or sunday's paper"

Rothenberg hardly inspires confidence when he's too lazy to know what day of the week it is.

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