By Robert Haugh
We’ve been trying to get County Assessor Larry Stone to answer some important questions about last year’s 49ers assessment tax appeal case. That decision gave the 49ers a huge tax break.
According to our sources, it may be one of the biggest cuts in Santa Clara County history. Some people estimated the total hit to be about $240 million, not just the approximately $30 million that Stone has told the public.
The tax loss will mostly come out of the pockets of the Santa Clara Unified School District (SCUSD) and the West Valley-Mission College Community College District (WVMCCD).
We’re having no luck getting answers to some important questions. Stone emailed back and said he doesn’t want to answer our questions in writing.
But he wants to talk about it. We’re not sure why. I told him I have a job and daughter that limits my time. But that didn’t matter to Stone. Here’s his message:
“I am happy to answer your questions, but not in writing at this time. I will comment that the “multiple sources” you reference are nearly 100% incorrect.”
Here are the exact questions that I sent to Stone.
I have multiple sources that say you met with the SCUSD and WVMC district to discuss the 49ers assessment appeal issue. My sources say that you have told them that you will not appeal the board’s ruling. Is that true? If so, why?
I’ve been trying to get information from the City of Santa Clara on the full financial impact of the decision? The city staff says that your office won’t disclose it. Is that true? If so, why? If not, what is the full cost over the 40 years? Can you tell me the total dollar estimates and the total value in today’s dollars?
Is this the biggest financial loss in Santa Clara County history for an assessment appeal? If not, where does it rank on the list?
My sources tell me that SCUSD, WVMC, and the City of Santa Clara have the right to sue you directly on this decision? Is that true? Or would they sue the County? Or is this inaccurate?
Do you have a conflict of interest in this decision because you had a major role in the 49er stadium campaign?
We welcome Stone’s answers to these questions. We’ll print them word for word. Or maybe other elected officials and reporters could ask him these questions.