Heartland Park owner sends notice of claims to county

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- The owner of Heartland Motorsports Park is continuing his fight with Shawnee County over property taxes.

He sent a notice claiming fraud in the appraisal process dating back to 2016.

Shelby Development sent a letter to the county clerk claiming Shawnee County appraisers persuaded a third-party appraiser to increase their amount by nearly double.

The county now has 120 days to respond.

In a letter to the county clerk, Wesley Carrillo, attorney for Shelby Development, states county appraiser Steve Bauman and assistant appraiser Stacy Berry conducted valuations of Heartland Park in an improper and illegal manner.

Shelby claims the county persuaded a third party to change their valuation of the heartland park property from $5.5 million to $10.4 million dollars.

They are requesting $1.1 million in violation damages which is the extra amount in property taxes they'd have to pay.

After a meeting with Carrillo in February, Shawnee County Counselor Jim Crowl wrote a letter discussing the claims calling them absurd and defamatory.

He also provided sworn affidavits denying the allegations.

Anne Kindling, attorney at Joseph, Hollander and Craft, is not involved in the case, but explained how the process works.

She said the March letter states the county's position, but the county now must file an official response to the notice of claims.

"That will give the county up to 120 days to either pay the claim, they can deny the claim at any point within that 120 day period, or at the expiration of 120 days,” Kindling said. “If the county has not taken action then the claim would be deemed denied and that point then, the suit would be able to be filed in district court."

Kindling could not comment on specifics of the case, but she said the county's letter states an agreement had been reached between the parties for a compromise valuation, but it's possible Shelby Development had come across newer information that has pushed them to want to file.