Have a Spooky Owloween!

October 31, 2019

Drawing by John Atkinson #inktober2019

The picture looks ominous but if you remember the mouse escapes!

All the best and have a Fun and Spooky Owloween.

Carlos Royal

Hi everyone,
Bill HB 1289 Spot Checks passed the full house today. Representative Luke Simons and County Commissioner Carla Arthaud have done a great job supporting and gaining support for this bill which is so badly needed for fair market value assessments. This issue with assessments which will basically disappear with the passage of this bill because all the checks will be for market value so the assessors will make sure they are assessing properties at their market values. Right now, no one is spot checking for market value assessments so the assessors are not assessing at market value. This bill changes that. It ensures market value results with spot checks for market value result. These spot checks will give the commissioners a non-biased third party check of the values as a guide for all properties being questioned as to their market value not just the assessor’s opinion, which is not a non-biased opinion of value. 

The second part of this campaign is to get the Ryan Rauschenberger the Tax Commissioner to change the Sale Ratio Study to use these spot checks as supplemental sales thus bringing the formula to current market value rather than using up to three year old sales which have no validity in current market values. With the passage of HB 1289 and the change in the Sales Ratio Study everything would be focused on current market values for assessments and property owners would be ensured that their properties are assessed at market value. 

Only when all properties are assessed at market value are all property owners paying their fair share of the tax burden. The standard is and has to be fair market value assessments and spot checks are needed to ensure they are market value. 

Thanks everyone, for your support so far. One step at a time. Again, special thanks to Luke and Carla because they have been strong enough to stand up for fair market value assessments for property owners, the tax payers. If the State is to attract and keep investors then this issue of over assessments must be corrected. So, we ask Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner rwardner@nd.gov and Senator Jay Elkin jayelkin@nd.gov to join us in support of HB 1289.  If you would like to send them an email stating your support for fair market value assessments and spot checks to ensure they are. Please do so. We have to get it passed in the Senate before it can become law. As I said, One step at a time.

If you have any questions please email or call me. 

Committee Votes 10-3 HB1289

February 14, 2019

Just received a phone call fromNorth Dakota Representative Simons that HB 1289 Spot Checks of Assessments was approved by the Committee with a vote of 10 to 3 in favor of the bill! As I understand it, the bill now head to the entire House but this was a big step forward as HB 1289 was given a green light by the committee. As most of you know, I along with others have been working very hard to get this bill approved so that there are spot checks of the assessments to ensure properties are listed on the tax rolls at their true fair market values. In other words what they would sell for. Plus, when a property owner appeals then a certain number of those appealed must also be spot checked for fair market value. The goal is to add accountability into the system for fair market value assessments. I want to thank everyone that testified at the committee hearing in favor of the bill, especially Stark County Commissioner Carla Arthaud.

  Outliers don’t fit the Mass Appraisal Model

The legislative hearing date has been set for Bill 1289 Spot checks of real property. It is January 24, 2019 in the Prairie Room at the state capitol. Our goal is to stop over assessments but at the same time we want properties to be assessed at market value good times and bad. I will be flying back to North Dakota to testify in support of bill 1289 Mandatory Stop Checks.

Three Basic Taxpayer Protections

The Purpose of the Protections are to Find and Correct Errors

  • 1. Spot checks
  • 2. Appeal process
  • 3. Abatement Process

The protections were placed into North Dakota law to ensure all property values would be assessed at market value. That includes outliers.

A System of Checks and Balances

Without Spot checks all three are subverted so the Assessor’s Mass Appraisal Value rules instead of the State’s standard for assessments, which is true and full fair value or market value.

Market Value and True and Full Value are the same for residential and commercial property

If you haven’t already signed our online petition in support of mandatory spot checks please do. Several have ask how they can help. If you want to support the online petition? After you sign or have signed it a box will show Promote this petition. Click it and you can buy impressions for this petition on Change.org so it will show up more times. $100 buys 3,000 impressions. You can buy as few as $10 bucks worth or as much as you want. Every impression is appreciated.




We Have a Legislative Bill

January 11, 2019

It is bill number 1289, if you want to see the bill or track it and see if we can get it passed into law then go to https://www.legis.nd.gov and put in the bill number upper righthand corner. For those of you on twitter please hashtag your comments and join the conversation #spotchecksnd. Have you ever had your property over assessed during bad times. Assessors love to raise values during boom times but sure hate to lower them in bust times. If you agree you can sign our online petition www.spotchecksnd.com or www.ndspotchecks.com either one will get you to the petition to sign with a just a click.

I said back in 2007 “Sometimes you might have to ruffle a few feathers to get the job done.” Well, that is what I am doing today. Not everyone is on board, especially the assessors and the cities where they have been over assessing some properties as much as 150% but not all properties. So if you believe in honest fair market values assessments for everyone? Then please sign our online petition. What is interesting North Dakota already has a spot check law. They are just ignoring it but we want to change that! A bit of trivia NDCC stands for North Dakota Century Code

NDCC  57-12-01.1 Spot checks of real property. 

    Prior to the annual meeting of the county board of equalization, the board of county commissionersof each county within this state shall provide for spot checksupon property within each county to properly verifythe accuracy of the real property listings and valuations. The spot checks must be reviewed by the county boards of equalization at their annual meeting in June and such boards shall make the necessary corrections in the property assessment listings and valuations. Such changes in the assessments must be made in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. (Note: This has never been done in Stark County, North Dakota, ever!)

    In case any person whose duty it is to list property with the assessor refuses to list such property or intentionally omits a portion of such property in the person’s listing as indicated by the spot check, the county boards of equalization, as a penalty for such refusal or omission, may make an added assessment on such property of twenty-five percent in excess of its true valuation. 

    The board of county commissioners may select such persons or agencies as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this section and provide for their compensation. End of Existing law.

We want to change that! Make spot checks mandatory especially if some one complains that their assessment is too high. If I go to the bank and say something is wrong with my account they check my account. If I go to the water company and say there is something wrong they check my water meter but when I went to the assessor and said something is wrong with my assessments and I asked them to check my values they just refused to do it. In fact, it took me three years just to get the assessor to do a drive by. This is just not right! 

Since I wasn’t getting anyplace with the process (until this year) I decided to change the law and make spot checks mandatory and as of today we have a bill 1289 and we have 7 legislators co-sponsoring the bill. Plus I have already received phone calls from two more legislators that said they plan to support the bill.

No you don’t have to live in North Dakota to sign the petition, you just have to believe in honest fair market assessments of all real properties in good times and bad times. We want to show the legislators that this isn’t just a North Dakota issue but an issue that happens every time there is a boom and then a bust in almost any community.

We are not complaining about the taxes we are complaining about the assessments because if everyone is assessed at their fair market value then everyone will pay their fair share of the tax burden. The best way to ensure that is with independent spot checks of the assessments. If the assessor knows his assessments are correct then he has nothing to fear from spot checks but I believe the reason the City, the County and the assessor oppose this bill so much is they know their assessments are wrong and have been wrong!

So how can you help? Simple, we are not looking for money. We just want your support by signing the petition and posting links to it on your facebook and your other social media accounts. Richard a friend of mine sent following to all the people in his email.

Hi All,

A good friend of mine, Carlos Royal, has been fighting the tax assessor in Dickinson, North Dakota for years because the assessor has valued some property he owns there way too high.  He has been working with the state legislature in North Dakota to pass legislation requiring that the city and county assessors in the state perform spot checks using certified appraisers to verify property valuations and adjust their valuations accordingly.  Here is a link to a petition he has started which tells his story.  Please take time to read it and sign the petition if you agree:   http://chng.it/FmnzbKqNxV.  I have found it very compelling and have signed the petition.  

Let me know what you think,



An easier link is www.spotchecksnd.com and for twitter #spotchecksnd If you want to use Richards email as a guide/copy I am sure he wouldn’t mind.

Carlos Royal

P.S. I will be testifying for the bill January 24, 2019 at the state capitol, Bismarck, North Dakota. Wish me luck! My goal is to get this right for all property owners in North Dakota and hope it will be adopted by other states as well. “Decisions Determine Destiny”


Please go to the link and sign our petition.  We don’t want your money just your support for fair, honest and market value assessments in good times and bad.

I won! Made History.

December 25, 2018

Persistence wins again.

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.

Calvin Coolidge

It has been a long battle but finally the Stark County Commissioners agreed to reduce my properties’ assessed values, the first time they have done so in Stark County in history at an abatement hearing. I received word that the City of Dickinson is also going to review all their commercial property assessments in 2019. So it was not just a victory for me but for every Commercial property owner in town, which includes apartment owners. I am still working to change the law to make spot checks of property assessments mandatory in North Dakota. The Bill will be presented to the State Legislators next session in January.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays


The sharing of ideas is mankind greatest accomplishment for it has made the expansion of knowledge possible.  Carlos Royal, 1990, “The Magic of Lease Options.”


They say one can’t fight City Hall, but I am trying.  Austin and I created the Short Video using a software plug-in program he has created for those that use Adobe Premiere Pro. Below is the email I sent to the County Commissioners with a link to the video. We were able to add the special effects to the presentation using his software plug-in within a matter of minutes. Wow! What a time saver and it is only going to sell for about $45 dollars regular users and around $96 for the professionals. I think this is going to be really big for him. If you make movies, commercials, presentations or just have fun with Premiere you are going to love Austin’s plug-in for hand painted titles and special effects. It should be available within a few days. He is building his website now. It is up now! Check it out.  https://www.smashworkshop.com

County Commissioners,

If a person notices on his receipt register that he has been over charged, as in charged double for an item, doesn’t he have a right to return to the store with his receipt register and get a refund for the over charged item? That is all I want to do. The store shouldn’t get mad at the customer for returning to the store, they should give the customer a refund and fix the problem. I am not saying the store over charged everyone, but they may have if they have a faulty pricing system that causes the register to ring up the wrong price. Only they know if it applies to everyone or just me. I am only requesting my refund.

In this case, you (the Country Commissioners) have oversight responsibility to spot check the price and see if I was overcharged or not and issue a refund if I was. That is all I ask you to do. Verify the price.

Since time is limited at the hearing, I have attached a link to a short video Assessment Appeal 2017  for your review and to be included in the record for your consideration. I have also attached all the documents in pdf form, so you can review any of the slides in enlarged detail.

In addition, I have included a short-written response to the “City’s Rationale” for denying 4 out 5 of my claims and only partially approving one of the claims. I would call the City’s Rationale more “irrational” than rational. As proof, I have also attached the emails from Jason Hopfauf, president of Dakota Community Bank, and the price opinion letter from Terry Clement of West Plains Realty.

If you have any questions or need “more” information, please let me know.

See you next week

Carlos Royal

2D – Letter of Rationale – Carlos Royal

Rationale Response

If you want to send the County an Email supporting me? The president of the County Commissioners is Jay Elkin, jelkin@starkcountynd.gov and the Mayor of Dickinson is Scott Decker,  Scott_Decker@ndsupernet.com . I know you probably don’t live in North Dakota but fairness is fairness around the world, so please let them know over assessing property is just not right.

Thanks for your support.

Owl Box News 

No owls but lots of other birds passing through on migration.

Donna is doing great and knitting daily.

As you can see from the video Austin is a genius who brilliance is starting to show. If you fly into the San Diego Airport it is hard to miss his Graphic Design Work on the buses and displays.

Vicki our daughter is working for Tesla and delivers new cars to their new owners daily. As she likes to say, “I get to drive some expensive cars.”

Wesley our son, and Ashley our granddaughter are both selling real estate. Wesley Royal  or  Ashley Rose Faure 

I am off to North Dakota this weekend to make my case. Wish me luck! Someday I will get fully retired.

Hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving, we did, our grandson and granddaughter hosted the event this year.

I’ll let you know how it goes when I return.


June 23, 2018

Here is the email I sent the commissioners after they refused to correct my assessments.  As you watch the 4 minute video keep in mind my apartments rent for $450 to $600 for a two bedroom apartment.  Yes, you can rent a really nice 2 bedroom apartment in Dickinson, North Dakota for $600 or less.

Dear Commissioners,

I came to you and said my properties are over assessed. The assessor lied and said they were not. Now, that I cannot collect he admits they were as much as 60% over assessed. See Video of his statement. Over Assessments. I feel the assessor stole over $250,000 from me and my wife by over assessing my property. I believe that qualifies as grand larceny and since we are over 75 years old I believe it is also elderly financial abuse.

Today the assessor says my properties are only 10% over assessed. I have attached a second independent appraisal showing Century was and still is 60% over assessed.


Century Apartments Ibach Summary How much proof do I need to provide for you to believe me?  I have attached the complete appraisal for your review. As you can see Century is over 100% over assessed in 2017 and 2018 based on not one but two appraisals now by two different appraisers.

Comment from Kelly Witherspoon after watching the video. This comment was not part of the email to the commissioners.

“ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!  Who is the bald guy and does he have any common sense?  Of course others want their assessed values reduced because projects are valued in INCOME that is a fraction of what it used to be.  Wow, unreal.  It basically makes any property unsellable due to the hit you take on NOI from tax value that they won’t correct, and now is very public knowledge.  Outrageous, and sad.

Can’t believe you’re having to deal with that.  Small town politics and idiocy. ”

Kelly Witherspoon, Managing Director, BERKADIA, a Berkshire Hathaway and Jefferies Financial Group Company.

Just for clarification the bald guy is the assessor.

NDCC 57-12-01.1 Spot Check of Real Property calls for the County Board of Equalization prior to its June meeting to provide for spot checks, yet the County Board of Equalization has done none and refuses to do any because of the fear they will discovery that the assessor is wrong and has been wrong. The commissioners fear the assessor’s values will not stand up to independent scrutiny and verification of true and full fair market value as required by the code, so they have refused to do any spot checks and have denied all appeals. “Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be full of gravel.” Provers 20:17

Both Joe Hirschfeld, the assessor, and Natalie Wandler, Stark County Director of Equalization, have argued at the hearings that you (the Commissioners) cannot correct Mr. Royal’s assessments or anyone else’s for that matter, not because they are right and should not be corrected but because others will want theirs corrected also. Implying all the other assessments are wrong too. I don’t know if they are or not but if the others are wrong shouldn’t you correct them also provided they show proof they are wrong like I have. If all the assessments are wrong and have been wrong as both Joe and Natalie are implying, then the assessor should be replaced for being incompetent.

Isn’t it the duty of the Commissioners to catch the errors and correct the assessed values? Isn’t that the purpose of the appeal process and the spot checks (if we had them)? Right now, we as taxpayers have neither an appeal process or spot checks.  Not one appeal has been approved and not one spot check has been completed. No one is checking on the assessor.

I ask both the City Commissioners and the County Commissioners at their next meetings to revisit my assessed values based on the evidence I have provided and correct them. I ask the County to revisit my settlement offer. You may say it is too late, but I would like to point out that the assessor was over 30 days late getting his assessments out so there was just not enough time to get the appraisal for the hearing even though I had ordered it six weeks earlier. The appraisal is about 150 pages.  Let’s make Spot Checks mandatory and let’s stop over assessments and let’s settle this.

A special comment to Ken Zanders, (Vice Chairman). I believe your comment at the June hearing was, “I don’t care as long as everyone is treated the same.” It is not all right or okay that all properties are over assessed in the name of equal treatment. In fact, it is against the law. All properties are to be listed on the tax rolls at their true and full fair market value. That does not mean over assessed!

P.S. I want to thank the City Commissioners for at least trying. Especially commissioners Fridrich and Oltmans who at least questioned the veracity of the assessor’s values. If you haven’t please take less than 4 minutes and watch the video.   Over Assessments. Let me also point out the assessor tried to justify his over assessed values with rents of $2,500 to $2,900 per month when my rents are $450 to $600. As I have said before the assessor seems to be suffering from OBDS (Oil Boom Derangement Syndrome.)

End of email to Commissioners

We are working to get true and full fair market assessments using the courts and the legislative process with proposed changes to the law. We are calling for mandatory spot checks of assessed values by licensed independent appraisers. Please help Stop Over Assessments.  Our goal is set up spot check on the assessor’s values so they cannot over assess our homes, our apartments or our commercial property at just what ever they want.  Right now, as you can see mine are over assessed 100% and more compared to the  appraisal. It is just not right!  100% over assessed. Wow!

It might be helpful if you sent a comment about how you feel about properties being  over assessed. The Chairman is Jay Elkin jelkin@starkcountynd.gov  The Mayor is Scott Decker  Scott_Decker@ndsupernet.com 

You don’t have to live in Dickinson to make a comment, over assessments happen everywhere and they are just not right. We can only stop it if we stand up. Most state have an appeal process that works but in Dickinson not one appeal has been approved in 3 years, not one. The assessor is always 100% right, no matter how much proof is or has been presented. I presented income and expenses, independent appraisals, and comparable sales. As you watched on the video every City Commissioner agreed my values were wrong but the County made no changes leaving them 100% over assessed.

Social Media can help fix this so please post the video and tweet and retweet the link youtube.com/…nel/UCYgse9Lk0vcpK6nuOdNov6A to it. Please let all your friends know. We need to let the City and County officials know over assessing property as a way of paying their bills is not acceptable. Help me stop over assessments for everyone, who wants their home over assessed?

If you want to contribute to the cause go to gofundme.com/real-estate-tax-assessment-revolt but to be honest the best way to help is send the link to all your friends and give it a thumbs up plus let the Mayor and the Chairman of the County Board of equalization know how you feel about over assessments. They are a form of theft and should not be allowed. Also, if the assessor knows they are still 10% over assessed as he stated in the video then why has he not corrected them, plus if he knew they were up to 60% over assessed in the past why did he deny it at the appeal hearings? It just doesn’t make sense unless there is corruption in the process and the system. We want to change that with mandatory independent spot checks of values.

Let me quote from Don’t Squat with your Spurs On, A Cowboy’s Guide to Life, “COMIN’ AS CLOSE TO THE TRUTH as a man can come without actually gettin’ there is comin’ pretty close, but it still ain’t the truth.” page 129.  

We need honesty, integrity and transparency.  We need true and full fair market value assessments for our homes, our apartments and our commercial property. Tenants and renters, listen up, this concerns you also because excesses taxes gets passed along to you in higher rents.

Thank you

Carlos Royal

P.S. No owls this year. Only bluebirds, kestrels and rabbits.









Here is a link to a post on my continuing battle to get honest and true fair market real estate value assessments in Dickinson, North Dakota. My assessments are not off 15% or 20%. No, they are off by 100% to 634% based on independent fair market value evaluations. They raise the values to match the oil boom but have refused to lower them to match the oil bust. Apartment boom has been over since 2013. All I have asked for is for them to list my properties on the tax rolls at their true and full fair market value as per the law. 100% of all property appeals have been denied in Dickinson.

I have offered a very simple solution. Just order an independent appraisal of one of my properties to spot check the assessment value. If they are 100% sure the assessor’s value is correct, why not order an independent appraisal and shut me up? I think they are afraid of the truth! I even offered to pay for the appraisal.



We have no Owls. I have not even seen one fly over this year. We do have kestrels plus a killdeer nesting with 4 eggs.

Austin is doing great and says, “Hi” to everyone. Ashley has gone into real estate and has just closed her first sale. Wahoooo!

Donna and I are doing great and loving life. We watched the girls NCCA college basketball championships on TV. What fun they were!

All the best