Q&A: Appraisal request


From The News and Tribune (Jeffersonville):

Q: I recently requested a copy of an appraisal that the city of Jeffersonville had commissioned on a piece of property in town. They’ve apparently not yet made an offer on this property.

Their response denies my request based on the deliberative material exception. Would I have any room to challenge this, or do they make a solid point here?

A: I think in this case a judge would probably side with the city on withholding the appraisal at this time.

The response you provided suggests the city is willing to give you the appraisal once the negotiations are done.

I’m not sure I’d agree with the deliberative material exception cited, but I do think they could argue it was a document prepared for an executive session (to discuss strategy concerning the purchase or lease of property), which can be kept confidential at the discretion of the public agency.

If you’re trying to put a price tag on the property, have you spoken to the property owner or checked the recorder’s office to see if the price was listed the last time the property changed hands?

Contact Steve Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel, with media law questions at skey@hspa.com or (317) 624-4427.