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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- A new legal challenge to the troubled Jackson County assessment asks a judge to stop collection above 2018 rate and declare the recent assessment unconstitutional.

Both residential and commercial properties are challenged in this lawsuit.

All the plaintiffs saw incredible increases in their properties and are still stuck in the appeals process.

The lawsuit claims the massive hikes lacked physical inspections and competent methodology.

One homeowner saw property taxes increase 1,406%.

It’s unclear if any of the plaintiffs are possibly among the 8,600 emails the county now admits were “unread.”

The county now confesses at least 3,800 appeals were contained in those emails. And that means those property owners were expected to pay higher taxes without any way to challenge their new rates. Those people have been waiting more than 4 months.

Attorney Sherry DeJanes argues many other homeowner face challenges navigating such an appeals process. The lack the resources and mental capacity to fight botched assessments.

The lawsuit points out the lack of physical inspections on properties which increased more than 15% in value. It mentions computers and data problems and the fact that the county appears to have changed the recipe for how properties were assessed during the process.

Attorney Sherry DeJanes argues the assessment violates the 14th amendment because different homeowners were clearly treated differently.

Twenty-eight percent of residential properties were capped at 14.9% because the assessor “ran out of time.”

Those properties appear in red on the map below.

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Twenty-eight percent of residential properties were capped at 14.9% because the assessor “ran out of time.”

Those caps were largely outside of predominately minority neighborhoods meaning African Americans and Hispanics saw much larger increases.

The lawsuit is brought against Jackson County. It directly names assessment director Gail McCann Beatty and collector Whitney Miller.

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Gail McCann Beatty

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Whitney Miller

KCTV5 has been a driving force in holding Jackson County accountable on behalf of homeowners.

Our investigative department first revealed the 14.9% cap along with the help of data expert, Preston Smith.

We fought for county emails which revealed the county leaders were confused about the values reached that homeowners are now being expected to pay.

That data and those emails are contained in all 4 lawsuits.

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