ST. LOUIS ( -- The St. Louis County Assessor is criticizing the owners of a piece of land at the center of a controversial county lease, saying they want a reduction in their property values.

Assessor Jake Zimmerman says Robert and David Glarner, owners of the development of the Old Northwest Plaza mall, are appealing their property tax assessments.

Northwest Crossings, now home to a number of St. Louis County offices, has been at the heart of debate. County councilmembers have questioned whether it was appropriate for the Glarners to receive the contract, since they donated to now-former County Executive Steve Stenger’s campaigns.

Stenger pleaded guilty earlier this month to a pay-for-play scheme involving another campaign donor. Northwest Crossings was not a part of the indictment.

Read: Steve Stenger resigns amid federal pay-to-play charges

Even still, Zimmerman says “enough is enough,” calling for the Glardners to drop their “outrageous tax appeals.”

“Considering the sweetheart deal the Glarners already received from Stenger’s cronies, these appeals are appalling. We have fairly valued their property just like other North County commercial real estate,” Zimmerman said in a statement.

County Executive Same Page has called for the leases at Northwest Crossings to be renegotiated. Zimmerman says that’s only one step. He wants the Council to demand the appeals be dismissed and that the Glarners waive their right to file any other tax appeals.

“These guys want to collect rent from the taxpayers with one hand, while reducing their taxes with the other,” Zimmerman said.

The Glarners appeal hearing is scheduled for June 19. Zimmerman is inviting the public to attend.

The Glarners later sent News 4 the following statement:

“Every citizen of St. Louis County has been invited by Assessor Zimmerman to appeal their property tax assessment because as the Assessor has said ‘there will always be mistakes.’ The Glarners appreciate that county officials recognize the tremendous value of the Crossings at Northwest, which is important to the economic vitality of St. Ann and St. Louis County. They respectfully disagree with the 2018 assessment because there were no new construction or property improvements in the prior year, which under Missouri law is the only trigger for an assessment in even-numbered years. Even so, the Glarners paid this tax bill in full last year and have been working diligently for months with the Assessor’s office to resolve their disagreement and will accept the result of their appeal.”

UPDATE June 4, 2019 11:00 a.m.:

The Glarners announced Tuesday they would drop their tax appeals on the properties that are leased and occupied, and have agreed to an increased value for the parcels that were only partially finished as of the assessment date. 

In a statement, Zimmerman said:

"I'm proud that we held our ground in this important fight. Once again, we've shown that St. Louis County residents can count on us to stand up for what's right."

The Glarners sent this statement June 4 at 4:30 p.m.:

"The Glarners are glad the Assessor was finally willing to settle the tax appeals filed last year and agree upon an equitable total value for the 7 parcels.  Like all residents of St. Louis County, the Glarners have the right to challenge the assessor when they believe mistakes are made, and we are pleased this issue has been resolved to both parties satisfaction.  The Glarners are focused on ensuring the Crossings at Northwest continues to be a world-class commercial center for the City of St. Ann and St. Louis County."

Copyright 2019 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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