Super-sized GarCo appraisal sparks a six-figure judgment

Charles Agar
Aspen, CO Colorado

GARFIELD COUNTY ” A district court judge has ruled that a Basalt real estate appraiser must pay a bank $830,000 for assessing a Glenwood Springs home at an Aspen price.

The judgment, which was recently slapped on Gary Beaver, came in the wake of a foreclosure, bankruptcy and lawsuit, all apparently spawned by an oversized appraisal.

In 2004, Beaver appraised the Glenwood Springs home of Rodney and Donna Poland at $2.75 million, but when the couple defaulted on the loan and went bankrupt in 2006, a later appraisal showed that Beaver’s estimate was more than $1 million over the mark.

A later appraisal valued the home, located at 1752 109 Road in Glenwood Springs, at $1.1 million.

Compass Bank, which held the note on the property and acquired the home in a foreclosure sale, won the recent $830,000 judgment from Beaver to make up for its losses.

Beaver, who was paid $750 for the job, said by phone from Florida on Thursday that he’d never heard anything about the case.

The Denver Attorney for Compass Bank, Brian Berardini, said Beaver used prices of comparable properties in Aspen to overvalue the Glenwood Springs home.

“His appraisal was outrageously wrong,” Berardini said, adding that anyone with Beaver’s experience should have known.

“Mr. Beaver did everybody a disservice,” Berardini said, noting that the victims were the homeowners who were required to secure a much larger loan than they could handle, and now the bank, which is left holding the debt.

As a result of Beaver’s original appraisal, Compass Bank awarded the Polands a loan of $1.9 million, according to court documents.

Then, on May 19, 2006, Rodney Poland filed for bankruptcy in Colorado and the bank determined that his wife Donna Poland could not cover the balance, according to court documents.

The bank hired National Valuation Consultants to update the home value on August 1, 2006, and the company appraised the property at $1.1 million.

Compass Bank officials bought the property in a foreclosure sale on August 23, 2006 at a price of $1.1 million.

The bank bid at foreclosure was credited against what the Polands owed and the difference was an unsecured balance of $831,082.31, according to court papers.

The bank then sold the home for $920,122.96.

Compass Bank officials said Beaver’s appraisal of $2.75 million was false and that his methods were substandard. The bank asked for the $831,082.31 balance based on what the bank was owed by the Polands and what they were able to recover in the sale.

Beaver used two separate attorneys in the case, but failed to respond to early defense motions, according to Berardini.

“He never was in court nor did he do anything else,” Berardini said.

When Beaver failed to show up for a deposition, a district court judge awarded Compass Bank a default judgment of the full amount of their losses.

Beaver must also cover court costs.

“The bank now has to find out a way to collect,” Berardini said, but Beaver has not responded to correspondence sent to any of the Florida addresses he listed in court.