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Property appraiser is sued over Ice Palace assessment

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 15, 2000

TAMPA -- The Tampa Sports Authority and the entities that operate the 20,686-seat Ice Palace near downtown Tampa have sued Hillsborough Property Appraiser Rob Turner, claiming the arena should be exempt from taxation.

The authority, which owns the arena, and Tampa Bay Arena and Glass Palace L.L.C., the companies that run the facility for Detroit tycoon William Davidson and are responsible for property taxes, say Turner failed to consider the hockey arena is used for "a public purpose" and thus ought to be exempted.

Relying on a court ruling from Highlands County that allows taxation of private businesses leasing public lands, Turner assessed the Ice Palace at $120-million for 2000.

Davidson's companies filed an appeal of Turner's assessment to the county's Value Adjustment Board, but a special master ruled in late November that the Ice Palace is not entitled to a tax exemption and is fairly valued at $120-million.

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