Sunday, April 20, 2008

Petition Signatures!

Yesterday, April 19th, two different locations were worked to obtain Candidate Petitions. At 9:00 A.M., we visited Puyear Park in northeast St. Petersburg to watch the opening of the first public outdoor Jai Alai court in North America. The afternoon was spent along the seawall in Vinoy Park talking with voters enjoying the Mainsail Art Festival.

Among the voters at Puyear Park signing the petition to get Frank Gregoire on the ballet was St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker.

We're working at another location today in an effort to get closer to the goal of 6,200 signed Candidate Petitions before the qualification deadline. You can help by surfing over to and downloading a pdf of the Candidate Petition. Mail to the address on the petition. Please take a minute to forward the link to your friends, family and colleagues that are registered to vote here in Pinellas County. Encourage them to download the Candidate Petition and forward the link to their friends. If you forward to 20 people in your address book, we are that much closer to the goal.

Your help is essential to elect a Certified Appraiser to the office of Pinellas County Property Appraiser and restore competency, credibility and integrity to the office.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Gregoire Elected to Honorary AARO Membership

The Board of Directors of the Association of Appraiser Regulatory Officials (AARO) unanimously elected Frank Gregoire to Honorary Membership during their meeting in San Francisco Monday, April 14, 2008.

According the AARO President, Bob Keith, Administrator of the Oregon Appraiser Certification & Licensure Board, "Frank, you have faithfully served AARO for many years and have made a significant and important contribution towards the accomplishment of our mission. On behalf of the Board of Directors and the entire Association I say thank you and congratulation on this honor, which you richly deserve."

The mission of the Association of Appraiser Regulatory Officials is to improve the administration and enforcement of real estate appraisal laws in member jurisdictions.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Island of Disenchantment

Update to add link to (UN)real estate blog post:

(UN)real estate

Feel free to comment on the (UN)real estate blog. I particularly like the third post.

Foreclosures leave Clearwater's Island Estates residents disenchanted

By James Thorner
Times Staff Writer
Published Friday, April 4, 2008 5:11 PM

In a cobalt blue Bentley that he bragged once belonged to boxer Mike Tyson, Marty Donovan looked the part of a superstar real estate agent.

And he was. The Chicago native racked up dozens of home sales between 2004 and 2007, most in a single neighborhood, Clearwater's Island Estates. His $40-million in annual sales placed him at the top of heap.

Full Story Here

St. Petersburg appraiser Frank Gregoire, until recently chairman of the Florida Real Estate Appraisal Board, said the sales bear the hallmarks of a common scam.

Buyers find a compliant appraiser to justify a higher loan amount from the bank, pay the seller a lesser amount, stop making house payments and walk away with the extra cash.

More sophisticated operators make payments for several months before they quit the property, Gregoire said. That way it looks like they were honest buyers but simply fell on financial hard times.

"Some thief sticks up a bank and gets $10,000 and the FBI will pursue him like he's the scourge of the earth," Gregoire said. "Other guys use real estate to take a bank for hundreds of thousands or tens of millions of dollars. I wish they were pursued with the same zeal.
Not mentioned in the article are my comments about the effect of fraudulent, cash back transactions on assessed values. Neither did Thorner address my contention that the Pinellas County Property Appraiser's office must use more diligence in verifying transactions and rate the fraudulent transfers as UNQUALIFIED.