From a small northwestern observatory…

Finance and economics generally focused on real estate

Archive for May 22nd, 2012

State of Alaska v. Wold

with 11 comments

On Friday, the Alaska State Supreme Court issued a ruling on an appraisal standards case which is already having national — even international — implications.  (I’ve already received e-mails from as far away as Australia about this!).

To synopsize, I was the testifying expert on appraisal standards for Wold’s attorneys.  For a couple of decades, Wold has been a successful and highly respected appraiser, real estate expert, and investor in Ketchikan, Alaska.  Back in the 1990’s, he testified on a pair of court cases, and the opposing expert in one of the cases was a member of the Alaska Appraisal Licensing Board.  (You can see where this is going, right?)  The Board filed a number of charges against Wold, and as is usual in such matters, the charges went before an Administrative Law Judge.  The Board did not accept the Judge’s findings, and decided to adjudicate the case themselves.  (You CAN see where this is going, right?).  The Board found against Wold on all 8 charges and Wold naturally appealed to the District Court.  That Court not only overturned 7 of the 8 charges, but ordered the Board to reimburse half of Wold’s fairly significant legal fees.  Wold appealed the 8th charge to the State Supreme Court, which not only handed Wold a decisive victory (in the only USPAP case ever heard by that Court) but also remanded the case to the lower court for consideration of reimbursement of the REST of Wold’s legal fees.

As the testifying expert who advised Wold’s attorneys, I’m naturally pleased at the outcome.  That having been said, I’m concerned about the bigger picture.  Appraisal licensing boards around the country have a record number of complaints filed against appraisers today, and in many of these matters, sifting through the truth as opposed to the fiction is an increasing challenge.  Clearly, some appraisal mistakes were made in the recent housing finance debacle, not to mention appraisal review and underwriting.  The job now is understanding when and how those mistakes were made, and approaching these matters objectively, credibly, and in an unbiased fashion.

Written by johnkilpatrick

May 22, 2012 at 9:54 am

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