The Hageman Reserve located in Northeastern Hopkins County near Sulphur Bluff is closing and will be placed on the real estate market. According to Shane Hageman, son of Steve and Sandra Hageman and member of the family business, The Reserve listing will be with Bernie Uechtritz with International Icon Properties, a firm that lists properties worldwide. Those who are paid club members of the reserve and enjoy the privileges of that membership have received a letter confirming the closure. In information presented in the notice, the Hageman family notes the desire for the family to spend more time together and the Texas property places limits on their time.
According to Hageman, all hourly workers at the Reserve were told this week that their services would be no longer required after July 1st. He stated the executive staff would remain to work through the transition to new ownership. Uechtritz, who is listing the real estate is described as a Texas cowboy with an Australian accent who was managing a PNG palm oil and coconut plantation at the age of 17. In February of this year, he sold the Waggoner Ranch, the largest single ranch in the U. S. to Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke. The price tag was $1 billion dollars.
The Hageman Family looks to family time as the reason for the sale. However, the Hopkins County Appraisal District has not been encouraging in their actions toward Steve and Sandra Hageman Texas, LLC, owners of the Reserve.
A suit in 62nd Judicial District Court seeks relief for Hageman Reserve regarding the tax appraisal that has placed the value of their property at near $39.2 million. Hageman went before the Appraisal District Tax Review Board and asked that the value be lowered to $4 million. The review board set the value amount at $15.6 million. That was okay with Hageman but not with the Appraisal District leadership. Thus, a problem has evolved.
Hageman was notified July 2, 2015 of the Appraisal District’s intent to sue but struck first with the suit on file 14 days before the Appraisal District filed their lawsuit.
Hard decision for Hageman family due to the fact that the employees are like family…
On July 27, 2015, Steve and Sandra Hageman Texas LLC filed suit against the Appraisal District stating that the property value is “substantially below the value determined by the Appraisal Review Board.” The filed papers state, “The levying of a tax on the Property based on the incorrect valuation is excessive and unequal and will cause injury to the plaintiff. At this time the Plaintiff intends to pay the full amount of the tax assessment, but is unable to make a final decision on payment of taxes due to non-receipt of tax bills. If a decision is made to pay a lesser amount of taxes than the amount billed, notice of the amount of taxes to be paid will be filed with the court.” The suit not only seeks a lowered property value, they also seek reimbursement for reasonable attorney’s fees from the Defendant pursuant to Texas Tax Code.
A problem faced by the Appraisal District is that in the 2017 proposed budget they have only $7,500 budgeted for attorney fees. According to the budget notes, the district “anticipates two areas in which the assistance of legal representation will be required. The first is consultation for the district and the board of director. The second area “is representation in possible litigation filed against the district. The Texas Legislature now mandates that the Appraisal Review Board maintain separate legal representation so a $3,000 category has been created to cover this.” They have very little money available for attorneys’ fees should they lose the suit and be liable for those fees for both entities. Should the Appraisal District lose, those entities that fund the District would be liable for the fees.
On August 12, 2015, the Appraisal District filed suit against the Hageman Texas, LLC appealing the Appraisal Review Board findings. “The suit challenges the Order by the Appraisal Review Board…” asserting the appraised value “does not follow the requirement that the Property be appraised at market value…The Property’s appraised value as determined by the Appraisal Review Board is less than the median appraised value of a reasonable number of comparable properties, appropriately adjusted” according to the filed suit.
In April of this year, KSST News reported that the Appraisal District announced that tax notices would go out and that the Sulphur Bluff ISD would see values increase 21% “due to the pipeline and the Hageman Reserve Hunting Lodge.”
The Hageman family had sought to be good citizens and neighbors in northeastern Hopkins County. KSST News reported in January of this year, “A generous donation to the Sulphur Bluff Scholarship Fund by the Hageman Reserve family was present to the Sulphur Bluff Scholarship Foundation Wednesday January 20. Sixteen years ago, Sulphur Bluff ISD had formed a scholarship fund to assist graduating seniors start in college-level studies. Over the years, an annual banquet and other fundraising efforts have helped dozens of seniors achieve a college education. The Hageman family, originally from Indiana, noted with appreciation how the school assisted their students prepare for the future and decided to help. To supplement the $15,000 raised in 2015, the Hageman family donated $40,000 so that the needed $55,000 would ready for 2016 graduates. To be considered for a scholarship, senior class and alumni students can apply to the Scholarship Board for help with tuition. Sandy Hageman said they are blessed to be a blessing through the donation. Along with donation-matches by their 100 employees, they wish to demonstrate to others how giving back can benefit an entire community such as Sulphur Bluff.