Puri assessment and lawsuit

A recent story in the local daily has sparked debate about the assessed value of developer Sunil Puri’s new home.

The local daily reported July 21 that Puri had filed suit in Winnebago County court against the flooring contractor, Puckett’s Carpets, for more than $50,000. Puri alleges his “dream home—complete with 24 rooms, seven bathrooms and six wood-burning fireplaces—is unlivable,” according to the daily. Their report goes on to say that damages are alleged at more than $500,000 because “the 12,000 feet of imported Brazilian redwood flooring” was allegedly improperly installed and other damage. Puri asserts he is unable to move in with “cost of approximately $40,000 a month to maintain the home without occupancy,” according to the daily.

According to Winnebago County tax records, Rockford developer Sunil Puri’s 17,510-square-foot home at 5260 Guilford Rd. has a fair market value of $1,426,074 million.

Home Builders Association of Rockford’s Dennis Sweeney said the lot upon which a house sits is usually worth one-sixth of that value. Sweeney said the average new home on the market—with a sale price of $147,000—was found to be worth $68 to $72 per square foot in 2004. But he strongly asserted Puri’s million-dollar abode was, obviously, above average.

Dividing the home’s fair market value by one-sixth to determine the land value equals $237,679.

The assessed fair market value of $1,426,074 million minus a land value of $237,679 equals $1,188,395, for the value of the house. $1,188,395 divided by 17,510 square feet equals a cost of $67.87 per square foot to build the house.

Though, to stress Sweeney’s point, that wouldn’t factor in any amenities—including imported floors.

Scott Dreir, president of MD Construction, said the average brick home with hardwood floors costs $80 to $150 per square foot, with a premium added on of $10 per square foot for exotic hardwood floors. He put a house in the style Puri’s built on the high end.

Using those numbers, $90 times 17,510 square feet equals $1,575,900, on the low end. On the high end, $160 times 17,510 square feet equals $2,801,600.

Puri purchased the nearly 11-acre property for $397,700 in 2000.

Assessed value of the property increased was $110,744 in 2001. Puri paid more than $41,000 in property taxes in 2005. The property’s assessed value was $475,358, and Puri received an owner-occupied exemption of $5,000, bringing the assessed value to $470,358, with a fair market value of $1,426,074 million. The property is in Rockford Township.

Puri contributed $450 in March 2005 to Rockford Township Assessor Ken Crowley’s campaign.

As to whether Puri’s campaign contributions affected his assessment, Crowley, said, “No not at all.” He also pointed out that two appraisers under him have done the assessment on that property for some time, and there haven’t been “any adjustments or changes.”

Puckett’s Carpets and Puri were unavailable for comment.

From the July 28-Aug. 1, 2006, issue

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