State law enforcement investigating property's $3M drop in value

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the Collier County Property Appraiser's Office after an East Naples property dropped from $3.4 million to $237 in appraised value.

The FDLE case was opened last month after a mid-April article by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune detailed the 2011 appraisal of a parking lot parcel in Berkshire Commons, at the corner of Santa Barbara Boulevard and Radio Road, according to a Collier County Sheriff's Office email. The property was appraised at $3.4 million in 2008, $3 million in 2009 and $1.3 million in 2010, but the value was dropped to $237 last year because it was being improperly valued, appraisal officials have said.

Property Appraiser Abe Skinner and his chief deputy, Julian Stokes, have defended the appraisal, and a consultant hired by the Daily News said the approach "appears justified." Skinner's political opponent in this year's race for property appraiser, Kevin Lilly, has challenged the value and the office's process, saying the case should have gone to a Value Adjustment Board.

On Wednesday, Collier County Commissioner Georgia Hiller called for the State Attorney's Office or Collier County Sheriff's Office to investigate. It was later learned that FDLE is already looking into the matter.

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