Saratoga review board denies grievance

The only way Ayco Co. Chairman John Breyo can lower his settlement is through an Article 7 lawsuit, now that the city Board of Assessment Review has ruled that Saratoga Property Developments failed to provide sufficient evidence for a reduction.

Breyo contested the city's full valuation of $24 million on his 61,403-square-foot mansion at 51 Winding Brook Drive. The Ayco chairman said the property was worth considerably less $6.1 million. Breyo said the city's estimate exceeds the full value of the 29-acre property and is higher than that of other comparative properties on the assessment roll, so it should be lowered to a fraction of the cost. The grievance stated that his partially built home was assessed at just $1.8 million in 2006, when it was almost half-complete.

He grieved the assessment through Saratoga Property Developments LLC. Neither Breyo nor a representative of Saratoga Property Developments LLC could be reached for comment.

As the original assessment stands, it will cost Breyo $436,000 in annual taxes. If he decides to file an Article 7 lawsuit against the city, a county judge will decide the assessment.

The ball is totally in his court," Commissioner of Accounts and City Assessor John Franck said.

The original assessment could bring in annual property taxes of $98,000 for the city, $56,000 for the county and $282,000 for the school district.

Franck said his office had to investigate homes in the Hamptons on the east end of Long Island because there were no comparable properties in the Capital District. The accounts department ultimately settled on $500 per square foot for finished living space and $175 per square foot for unfinished areas. Franck held a news conference to announce the assessment early in May.

According to Franck, Breyo declined to allow city officials on his property to assess the home, so they had to take pictures of the home from outside the property's metal gate.

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