An appeals board says the home Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin purchased from a friend and campaign donor last year is worth $2 million.
The ruling by the Board of Assessment Appeals was a compromise between Bevin, who is a Republican, and Jefferson County Property Valuation Administrator Tony Lindauer, a Democrat.
Lindauer's office said Bevin's home plus 10 acres (4 hectares) of land in the wealthy Louisville suburb of Anchorage was worth $2.9 million. Bevin bought the property last year for $1.6 million from Neil Ramsey, a friend and campaign donor whom Bevin later appointed to the Kentucky Retirement Systems board of trustees. At the time of the deal, Ramsey also owned part of a company that did business with the state.
The discrepancy prompted criticism from Democrats who said Bevin got a sweetheart deal on a valuable piece of real estate. Bevin has pushed back, criticizing the media and critics for delving too deeply into his private life.
Last year, Bevin appealed the valuation and won when an appeals board set the value of his home at $1.39 million. But the Jefferson County property valuation administrator's office reassessed the home earlier this year and set the value at $2.9 million.
Bevin appealed again, and the board met for several hours over two days last week to take testimony and review documents.
Bevin's attorney, Mark Sommer, said the PVA's assessment was "absurdly political and grossly overstated."
"This is a win for thousands of Jefferson County homeowners because it places a necessary check on this partisan PVA and slaps down a politically motivated effort by his office to single out the Governor, or any other property owner, as a target," Sommer said in an emailed statement.
A representative in Lindauer's office did not respond to an email seeking comment. Lindauer Chief of Staff Colleen Younger told the Courier Journal she wasn't sure if the office would appeal the ruling, adding that they "stand by our assessment."
Bevin's home and its value could become an issue next year when he is up for re-election. Andy Beshear, Kentucky's Democratic attorney general, has already announced his candidacy for governor. He has criticized Bevin's real estate deal.
Bevin has not said whether he will run for re-election.