Greenwich Hedgie Seeks Tax Break On Plywood Palace

Mar 8 2010 | 4:03am ET

Hedge fund manager Charles Davidson paid $22 million for his Greenwich, Conn., estate. But he’s going to the mat to save $20,000 on his property taxes this year.

A lawyer for Davidson lobbied the tony town’s Board of Assessment Appeals for a $3.4 million reduction in the assessed value of the estate, which currently stands at $27 million. In particular, Jeffrey Ramer sought to make the case that the half-finished 16,913-square-foot mansion deserves to be treated as a Long Island tract house for tax purposes, rather than as a home of superior quality.

Davidson, the co-founder of Wexford Capital, contends that the house should have an assessed value of just $3.4 million, down from its current valuation of $5.7 million. That’s the same value the board set last year, when the house was less than one-third done.

“You have to keep in mind that the palace at [this] point is plywood and two-by-fours,” Ramer told the board.

Ramer also argued for a $1.1 million cut in the value of the land, since more than a fifth of the property is constrained by wetlands. He also said a guest house on the property is not in nearly the shape the town says it is; it does not, for instance, have a fireplace.

If Davidson loses his case, he’ll pay about $156,000 in taxes this year.


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