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Date of Issue: May 17, 2007

Siam Gardens sues county appraiser, tax collector

Owners of the Siam Garden Resort condominiums in Anna Maria filed a lawsuit May 10 against Manatee County property appraiser Charles Hackney and tax collector Fred Burton.

The suit, filed by attorney John Harllee representing Siam Retreat Partners LLC as owners, alleges that Hackney's property value appraisal method was not done according to Florida statutes and was "arbitrarily based on appraisal practices" that differ "from the appraisal practices generally applied to comparable property within Manatee County."

While not stated specifically in the lawsuit, it would appear Hackney appraised the property according to "highest and best use," rather than using the income method of valuation.

According to the lawsuit, the property was appraised at slightly more than $3.5 million and the resort owners paid $39,147 in 2006 taxes in November.

Also named in the suit is the Florida Department of Revenue.

Siam Gardens Resort was sold by developer Kent Davis in 2005 to an Island company that then converted the units to condominiums and sold them to individual investors, but the use of the property remained as a motel.

Efforts to reach Harllee prior to press deadline were unsuccessful.

Longboat Key motel owners WSRB Partners Ltd. filed a similar suit against Hackney in November 2006. Island attorney Chuck Webb represents WSRB Partners, and that case has not yet gone to trial.