Appraisers rated low

  • Article by: JANE FRIEDMANN
  • Updated: March 21, 2011 - 4:57 PM

The Minnesota Department of Commerce disciplined 37 real estate appraisers in 2010. Of those, a dozen had their licenses revoked for professional errors. Another appraiser lost his license for failing to inform the department of his assault conviction.

I looked at department documents for information on the 13 appraisers listed here who lost their licenses in 2010. Except for the first three, all agreed to the revocation and any fine after negotiating with the state. Negotiations sometimes result in few details being made public.

Lisa A. Gruhot, Harlingen, Texas, $20,000

She failed to comply with department requests for documents or show up to a hearing. She chose dissimilar comparable sales for a Hastings property and failed to make adjustments for characteristics of properties in Hastings and Carver.

Jeffrey D. Gruhot, Harlingen, Texas, $10,000

He failed to comply with department requests for documents or show up to a hearing. He also used dissimilar comparable sales.

Christopher P. Kelly, Roseville, $5,000

Kelly, who held a trainee appraiser license, failed to use appropriate comparables or make adjustments for market conditions. He didn't show up to a hearing to address the issues. 

Charles Hanson, Coon Rapids, $2,500

Hanson used improper comparable sales, provided the department with false information and claimed a two- story, 2,525-square-foot house was one story with 1,340 square feet.

Linda R. Davis, Champlin

Davis made "significant errors" on three appraisals, including omitting that a property was improperly zoned, failing to justify a $211,000 increase in value in three months and failing to verify that the seller was the owner of record.

James P. Hondel, West St. Paul

Hondel, while acting as a supervisor, signed several appraisals that used dissimilar comparable properties, failed to take into account prior listings and sales, and didn't keep full notes justifying the appraisals.

Sean L. Kittleson, Coon Rapids

Kittleson appraised a Minneapolis property while holding a suspended license.

Sheriann LaBuhn, Lino Lakes

LaBuhn chose inappropriate comparable properties, did incomplete appraisals of investment properties and didn't maintain files that sufficiently justified her conclusions.

Rickey A. Mack, Big Lake

Mack failed to report being charged in 2006 and convicted in 2007 of a felony for assaulting a family member.

David M. Nyanchiri, Brooklyn Park

For a Maple Lake property, Nyanchiri reported there were 10 nearby properties for sale from $180,000 to $300,000 when the actual figures were eight properties priced from $99,000 to $109,900. For two Forest Lake appraisals he misrepresented that the market was stable, failed to list the correct zoning or consider sellers concessions on comparable sales information.

Brandon J. Peterson, Coon Rapids

Peterson overstated the size of several properties by as much as 310 square feet, misrepresented how far away comparable properties were, claimed incorrectly that property values were rising and overvalued a property because he "didn't want to upset the home owners."

Robert J. Ripley, Plymouth

Ripley failed to fully document 10 appraisals or complete them within acceptable guidelines, with due diligence or competence. He left negative factors out of appraisals, failed to properly analyze the properties or use proper comparable sales. One appraisal said a landlocked Orono property had 58 feet of lakeshore.

Michael F. Stradtmann, Big Falls

Stradtmann fraudulently appraised at least eight properties by using another appraiser's signature and license number. He is also barred from mortgage originating and servicing.

Hard Data digs into public records and puts a spotlight on rule breakers in the Twin Cities and Minnesota. Contact me at jfriedmann@startribune.com.

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