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Neighbor complains, town seeks to reassess Bielema house

By Adam Schrager, aschrager@wisctv.com
Published On: Jul 07 2014 02:49:03 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 07 2014 08:31:59 PM CDT

Former University of Wisconsin football coach Bret Bielema will likely be paying more in property taxes on his Lake Waubesa home after a neighbor complained to town of Dunn officials that it had been under-assessed and town officials subsequently agreed.

MADISON, Wis. -

Former University of Wisconsin football coach Bret Bielema will likely be paying more in property taxes on his Lake Waubesa home after a neighbor complained to town of Dunn officials that it had been under-assessed and town officials subsequently agreed.

The town of Dunn clerk sent Jennifer Bielema, Bret's wife, a certified letter last month stating that the property's assessment for 2014 "has been set too low" and notified her that the town's Board of Review will hold a hearing on the matter at 5 p.m. on Tuesday to review the matter.

The 6,607-square-foot home, described by its realtor as a "one-of-a-kind luxurious masterpiece" with "every dream home amenity you can think of" was assessed on Jan. 1, 2014, at $809,000. It is currently being listed to prospective buyers at $2.189 million.

Town of Dunn Clerk Cathy Hasslinger said the property's 2014 assessment did not include more than 2,000 square feet of finished space on the lower level. The neighbor who complained to town officials stated that the Bielemas had received a "sweetheart deal" and that the town was giving tax revenues away in the process of assessing it so low.

Bielema and his wife never lived in the home, having moved to the University of Arkansas in December, 2012. In two phone conversations with News 3, Bielema said he did not know why a neighbor would have complained, and stressed he and his wife have done nothing wrong.

"We're not getting any preferential treatment in any way, shape or form," Bielema said Monday afternoon. "There are no favors being done for us.

"(Re-assessments) happen all the time. We've paid our taxes. If they raise our taxes (on Tuesday), we'll pay that, too," Bielema said.

The Board of Review is a "quasi-judicial" entity, where property owners who have filed objections may present evidence that their assessed value is wrong, Hasslinger said. In the case of the Bielema property, Hasslinger said it will be the assessor who is presenting evidence that its previously assessed value is incorrect. Bielema said he and his wife will not appear at the meeting in person, but that their lawyer likely will.

"This property appeared to have an error in the square footage and assessed value that is too low," Hasslinger said. "A Board of Review hearing was set for July 8, to examine the evidence and set the assessed value."

The home has four bedrooms, five and a half bathrooms, a full wet bar and spa bath in the master suite and a heated deck overlooking the lake. It has a 50-foot lake frontage lot, similar to other lots along Waubesa Avenue. The Bielemas tore down the home that was on the property in 2012 before beginning construction on the new home.

It was listed for sale on May 3.

Hasslinger said she expects a decision at the meeting Tuesday night. She said it is common for the town of Dunn to have one or two of these types of assessment corrections every few years.

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