ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - A deal currently under review would allow the owner of a multi-million dollar mansion in Albuquerque's North Valley to pay back taxes and a penalty on the property, according to Bernalillo County's new assessor.
A Larry Barker investigation revealed that property taxes on the Tuscan-style mansion – which includes a duck pond, guest house, orchard and vineyard – had been just $25 a year.
Former Bernalillo County Assessor Karen Montoya previously admitted that her office overlooked the improvements made to the property while it was under construction, thereby failing to collect thousands of dollars in tax money.
"Well, I will accept the blame," Montoya said late last year. "I'm the county assessor, and I will do what I can to rectify the situation."
Montoya, however, left the assessor's job after being elected to the state Public Regulation Commission in November. That left the solution up to Tanya Giddings, the new assessor.
Giddings told KRQE News 13 she's reviewing a deal with the home's owner, Texas tycoon Michael Budagher, that would include back taxes and a penalty.
"I want the outcome to be fair and equitable to the taxpayers," Giddings said. "Mr. Budagher will have to be responsive to pay the back taxes for the property."
The home was previously on the market for $7 million. Now, the assessor's office is about to put a new value on the property of $2.2 million, sources told News 13.
The new assessor has the backing of the state's Taxation and Revenue Department.
"We'll be working closely with her," said Tax and Revenue Secretary Demesia Padilla. "We've told her what our expectations are, and we're looking forward to resolving it in a manner that the residents of Bernalillo County are made whole."
Budagher declined the comment for this story.
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