ACLU sues Jackson County over property taxes

The ACLU is suing Jackson County Assessment Director Gail McCann Beatty and the county, arguing the most recent assessment violated the Fair Housing Act.

KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- The ACLU is suing Jackson County Assessment Director Gail McCann Beatty and the county, arguing the most recent assessment violated the Fair Housing Act.

Jackson County Assessment Director Gail McCann Beatty

The ACLU is suing Jackson County Assessment Director Gail McCann Beatty and the county, arguing the most recent assessment violated the Fair Housing Act.

The lawsuit contends the 14.9% cap has obvious racial implications and was uneven in its application.

14.9% cap

The lawsuit contends the 14.9% cap has obvious racial implications and was uneven in its application.

KCTV5’s investigative team along with data expert Preston Smith revealed the 14.9% cap while reviewing the 2019 assessment.

The team wonders if Jackson County was trying to avoid state law that requires a physical inspection at 15%.

Our investigation revealed that 74,311 homes had that increase. That represents 28% of all residential properties.

“Unbelievable. It was beyond imagination. And even after checking it 3 or 4 times it was beyond belief. How in the world could it be? It’s beyond the bounds of reason,” said Smith.

That information is the now the cornerstone of the new filing. The ACLU argues the cap and it’s application “disproportionately and adversely affect majority-Black and Hispanic neighborhoods.”

The lawsuit is filed in circuit court on behalf of the following neighborhoods: Westside Neighborhood Association, Vineyard Neighborhood Association, Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council, and the Washington Wheatley Neighborhood Improvement Association.

This is the first lawsuit in what is expected to be a wave of litigation.

KCTV5 is reaching out to Jackson County for comment and will update this report as more information becomes available.

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