"The board is looking for easy headlines and scapegoats." Dan Foster
As you may recall, the Board of the Division of Real Estate had filed an emergency motion against Julie on June 1, stating that they found “that the health, safety, and welfare imperatively requires emergency action as a result of Respondent’s conduct.” (Seriously, Dear Reader, was your health, safety, or welfare threatened by a real estate appraiser doing appraisals in rural areas?) So, without benefit of due process, they had suspended Julie’s license before the hearing. Their motion included many trumped up “counts,” “allegations,” and “aggravating factors.” They asked the judge that her license be revoked and that she be fined $500 for each offense (it’s unclear what they consider an “offense” in their motion).
The ALJ recapped his understanding (still with much confusion about annexation and utilities), and concluded that Julie had made errors, but “the evidence is not sufficient to prove that her errors were willful or that her valuation of the property was intentionally inflated. The ALJ therefore concludes that the revocation of the Respondent’s license is not appropriate, but that her appraiser’s license be suspended for six months with credit given for the period her license has been under summary suspension (approximately three months at that time). Respondent’s license shall also be put on probation for three years. In addition Respondent shall be fined $500.”
We were happy and relieved for Julie, and we felt vindicated ourselves that all this nonsense about fraud, collusion and abuse was now behind us.
Toll Goes Against Judge’s Order
Unfortunately, Erin Toll had other plans for Julie. We found out in early December that Toll had the Division of Real Estate go against the judge’s order, reduced Julie’s license to the lowest level possible, and fined her $10,000. "This stipulated agreement is good for the community because if we simply revoked her license, she can reapply in two years," said Erin Toll, director of the state's Division of Real Estate. "Revocations are not permanent." (See Denver Post article, below.)
In other words, Toll was trying to inflict the most harm possible on Julie. How’s that for due process?
O'Gorman's attorney, Dan Foster, said that while the judge found some violations, they were not considered willful.
"All the allegations of fraud that were out there in the media and how she was doing fraudulent appraisals were proven wrong, and we still lose," Foster said. "I think they're going to use her as their poster child and do whatever they can to show that they're getting tough on bad appraisers. The board is looking for easy headlines and scapegoats."
It’s a sad outcome when truth is not upheld, and justice is not delivered. © Sharon Cairns Mann