KEY POINTS

  • An investigation by the Daily Beast shows that the appraisal of Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler's mansion inexplicably dropped by 60% in 2016
  • The change saved her hundreds of thousands of dollars, and cost taxpayers just as much
  • The county had no explanation for the change. Experts asked were baffled, especially given the $350,000 Loeffler spent on home improvements that year

Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s scandal-ridden reelection bid in Georgia now faces a new speedbump: an inexplicable drop in her mansion’s property value that saved her hundreds of thousands of dollars at tax-payers’ expense, according to a report by the Daily Beast.

Records show that in 2016, the appraisal of her mansion plummeted 60% from $10.5 million to $4.5 million. The taxes she paid on it went from $200,000 annually to just $90,000. In subsequent years, the value went up slightly to hover around $5 million.

Kelly Loeffler Kelly Loeffler is a Republican Senator from Georgia. Photo: Office of Senator Kelly Loeffler / Public domain

This is made all the more confusing by the renovation that Loeffler and her husband, Jeffrey Sprecher, who is the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, performed immediately beforehand. In 2015, they spent over $350,000 on a new greenhouse, outdoor improvements and a kitchen renovation.

Despite this, the value of the “gross improvements” to the home mysteriously dropped from $5 million to $0. “Cost/design factor” a metric of how cutting-edge the property’s amenities are, went from a sky-high 94% to just 24% in 2016. 

At the time, Atlanta was in a real estate boom that almost doubled property values from 2012 to 2020. The couple’s immediate neighbors saw their appraisal shrink by only 20% after they filed an appeal. Experts familiar with Georgia’s property tax appraisals confirmed the Loeffler’s drop was very atypical.

“You know something’s wrong there, if there was just a singular discount,” R.J. Morris, a former member of the Fulton County Board of Assessors and a longtime tax activist, told the Daily Beast.

“Did they demolish the house?” asked another expert when told about the drop. 

Fulton County itself was unable to account for the change. A spokesperson said the employees who made the decision now work elsewhere, and did not leave any documentation explaining their reasons. 

Fluctuations and wild inconsistencies are apparently common in the area. The county’s chief appraiser in 2016 was fired for mismanagement and ubiquitous rumors of misconduct, according to Morris.

The investigation from the Daily Beast comes just days after Loeffler was forced to address a photo she took with white supremacist Chester Doles, saying she had “no idea” who he was. Doles says he’s renounced racism in recent years.