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Shelter Island tax assessment remains in place

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HELENA – A real estate tycoon will have to pay taxes on more than $41.8 million in property after the Montana Tax Appeal Board on March 18 failed to grant an appeal to assess improvements to a Flathead Lake island property at a much lower $9.8 million rate. 

Abbey Land, owned by Donald Abbey, asked for the much lower assessment, claiming that the property had been over-appraised. He has paid the taxes in protest since 2012. 

After 20 hours of testimony was given earlier this year, the appeal board came to a verdict, upholding the Montana Department of Revenue and Lake County Tax Appeal Board’s earlier ruling. 

“We find that the DOR appraisers reasonably relied upon their professional judgment and collective experience to determine the market value of subject improvements,” the board wrote. 

The home, originally advertised for sale in 2012 for $75 million has decreased in price to $59 million currently. Promotional materials for the home say it is the largest private home in Montana, and includes an impressive set of amenities in the five-bedroom, eight-bathroom, 32,000 square feet home. 

Within the structure are 45-feet tall ceilings, wine cellar, indoor pool and indoor shooting range and a heated boat stall served by a rail system. 

Materials used to make the home, built over a 10-year period beginning in 2002, include hand-installed African Mahogany, French limestone, Italian plaster, and double pane windows made of copper and bronze. 

The home sits on 24 acres in Flathead Lake near Rollins. The massive construction project resulted in a multi-million dollar lawsuit by Abbey, in which his company won $12 million in 2014. The Montana Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that Flathead County District Court will have to reconsider the case, and let an insurer contest the award. 

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