Matter of Rite Aid v. Otis
Justice John C. Egan, Jr.
Town of Malta assessor appeal from an order granting Rite Aid's application to reduce tax year 2008, 2009, 2010 assessments on its leased real property. Rite Aid challenged the tax assessment imposed and the Supreme Court credited its proof, granting the petitions. This court noted that while a municipal tax assessment enjoyed a presumption of validity, it could be overcome by producing "substantial evidence" the property was overvalued. It noted such burden may be satisfied by submitting a "detailed, competent appraisal based on standard, accepted appraisal techniques and prepared by a qualified appraiser." The assessor contended the Supreme Court erred in disregarding the 2005 sale of the property as the best indicator of value. This court agreed stating the best evidence of value was a recent sale between arm's length parties. Thus, as the parcel was sold in 2005 for $3.6 million in an arm's length transaction, the price paid by petitioner was consistent with the value of the property as determined by assessors' expert. Thus, the Supreme Court's decision to credit the appraisal offered by petitioner was against the weight of the evidence. Hence, the court reversed the order and judgment, dismissing Rite Aid's underlying petitions.