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MADISON- Former University of Wisconsin football coach Bret Bielema will likely be paying more in property taxes on his Lake Waubesa home after a neighbor complained to Town of Dunn officials that it had been under-assessed and town officials subsequently agreed.
The Town of Dunn Board of Review sent Jennifer Bielema, Bret's wife, a certified letter last month stating that the property's assessment for 2014 "has been set too low" and notified her that the board will hold a hearing on the matter at 5:00 p.m. on July 8 to review the matter.
The 6,607 square-foot home, described by its realtor as a "one-of-a-kind luxurious masterpiece" with "every dream home amenity you can think of" was assessed on Jan. 1, 2014 at $809,000. It is currently being listed to prospective buyers at $2.189 million.
Town of Dunn Clerk Cathy Hasslinger said the property's 2014 assessment did not include more than 2,000 square feet of finished space on the lower level. The neighbor who complained to town officials stated that the Bielemas had received a "sweetheart deal" and that the town was giving tax revenues away in the process of assessing it so low.
Bielema and his wife never lived in the home, having moved to the University of Arkansas in December, 2012. In two phone conversations with our reporter, Bielema said he did not know why a neighbor would have complained and stressed he and his wife have done nothing wrong.
"We're not getting any preferential treatment in any way, shape or form," Bielema said in a phone conversation on Monday afternoon. "There are no favors being done for us.
"(Re-assessments) happen all the time. We've paid our taxes. If they raise our taxes (on Tuesday), we'll pay that, too."
The Board of Review is a "quasi-judicial" entity, according to Hasslinger, where property owners who have filed objections may present evidence that their assessed value is wrong. In the case of the Bielema property, Hasslinger said it will be the assessor who is presenting evidence that its previously assessed value of the Bielema property is incorrect. Bielema said he and his wife will not appear at the meeting in person, but that their lawyer likely will.
"This property appeared to have an error in the square footage and assessed value that is too low," she wrote. "A Board of Review hearing was set for July 8, to examine the evidence and set the assessed value."
The home has four bedrooms, five and a half bathrooms, a full wet bar and spa bath in the master suite and heated deck overlooking the lake. It has a 50-foot lake frontage lot, similar to other lots along Waubesa Avenue. The Bielemas tore down the home which sat on the property in 2012 before beginning construction on the new home.
It was listed for sale on May 3.
Hasslinger said she expects a decision at the meeting tomorrow night. She said it is common for the Town of Dunn to have one or two of these type of assessment corrections every few years.
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