Fyre Lake owners file suit against Mercer County over taxes

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

The owners of the Fyre Lake Golf Course in Sherrard have filed suit against the Mercer County treasurer. The plaintiffs allege the 2014 tax assessments were excessive, incorrect and illegal.

Larry Whitty, president of Happy Joe's Pizza, and Mike Thoms bought the golf course in June of last year from developer Todd Raufeisen.

A number of taxing bodies will take a hit if the complaint is upheld. Among those are Mercer County, Sherrard District 200 schools, Black Hawk College, the Village of Sherrard, the Sherrard Library District, the Sherrard Fire District, and a number of Richland Grove Township road and bridge funds.

Mercer County Board Chairman Joe Vann said the state's attorney has spoken with the county and Richland Grove assessors about the lawsuit. He said the Jack Nicklaus designed golf course, located near an international airport, is assessed correctly as far as he is concerned.

The owners of the golf course disagree, however. In the complaint, they allege the properties were not properly classified and "are therefore not being assessed at the correct level of assessment.

"The level of assessment, as a percentage of fair market value, exceeds by more than two and one-half times the level of assessment at which real estate in another class has been assessed."

The complaint asks the court to order that the Mercer County assessments of the parcels in question for 2014 are "excessive, incorrect, illegal and void."

The same allegation is made in connection with the 2014 real estate taxes for the golf course.

The plaintiffs are asking that a judgment be entered determining "the appropriate" amount of taxes for the 2014 tax year "based upon the Courts valuation and assessment of the subject parcels" and that the court enter a judgment "directing Defendant to refund to Plaintiff any and all taxes adjudged by the Court to be excessive, incorrect, illegal, and void."

Vann said the school district would take the biggest hit, more than $100,000. He said Richland Grove Township also would be hard hit.

According to the law suit, the plaintiff's predecessor, FLGC, LLC, filed a complaint before the Mercer County Board of Review for 2014 "and exhausted all its administrative remedies."