Value of GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s $10.5m mansion mysteriously plunged by $6m overnight

The appraised value of Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler and her husband’s Atlanta mansion, known as ‘Descante’, dropped suddenly – and mysteriously – by more than $6 million in 2016, saving the couple tens of thousands of dollars in taxes every year since, according to the Daily Beast.

Loeffler and her New York Stock Exchange CEO husband, Jeffrey Sprecher, bought the 15,000-square-foot mansion for $10.5 million in 2009, making it the most expensive private home purchase in the city’s history at the time.

The property held its value steady for the next seven years, based on appraisals conducted by the Fulton County government for tax purposes, before dramatically plummeting 60 percent to just $4.15 million in 2016, without explanation.

According to the Daily Beast, the plunge in valuation resulted in a dramatic cut to the couple’s property tax bill.

When the seven-bedroom Tuxedo Park home was still valued at $10.5 million, Loeffler and Sprecher were paying around $200,000 to the city and county governments. But in 2016, after the home’s value dropped, their tax bill was slashed to $90,000.

The appraised value of Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler and her husband’s Atlanta mansion, known as ‘Descante’ (above), dropped suddenly – and mysteriously - by more than $6 million in 2016

The appraised value of Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler and her husband’s Atlanta mansion, known as ‘Descante’ (above), dropped suddenly – and mysteriously – by more than $6 million in 2016

The couple bought the 15,000-square-foot mansion for $10.5 million in 2009 (pictured above that year), making it the most expensive private home purchase in the Georgia city’s history

The couple bought the 15,000-square-foot mansion for $10.5 million in 2009 (pictured above that year), making it the most expensive private home purchase in the Georgia city’s history

The Atlanta home of Kelly Loeffler (left) and Jeffrey Sprecher (right) held its value steady for the next seven years, based on appraisals by the Fulton County government for tax purposes, before dramatically plummeting 60 percent to just $4.15 million in 2016

The Atlanta home of Kelly Loeffler (left) and Jeffrey Sprecher (right) held its value steady for the next seven years, based on appraisals by the Fulton County government for tax purposes, before dramatically plummeting 60 percent to just $4.15 million in 2016

Across the last four years, the value of the four-acre estate, which was built in 1997, has risen to roughly $5 million. However, the couple are still paying around $80,000 less a year than they were when they first purchased the property.

In 2018, the home was valued at $5.5 million, and the couple paid $115,000 in property taxes for that year; in 2020, the home was valued at a lesser $5 million, with an annual tax bill of $112,000, according to the Daily Beast.

Even more bizarrely, the 2016 devaluation of Loeffler and Sprecher’s home came after the couple made extensive renovations to the property in the year previous.

In 2015, the couple reportedly spent nearly $90,000 to renovate the home’s kitchen, $150,000 building a new greenhouse, and $125,000 on improvements to the estate’s gardens.

Atlanta was also undergoing a real-estate boom at the time, with house prices in the metro area surging some 81 percent from 2021 to 2020, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.

In the meantime, eight of Loeffler and Sprecher’s closest neighbors saw their property values increase as theirs fell, the Daily Beast reported.

The couple’s immediate next-door neighbor did see their appraisal dwarf slightly, with a far more modest decrease of 856,000 – or 21 percent – from $4,152,800 to $3,269,100.

However that decrease came only after they filed an appeal with the country to challenge the valuation, the Beast reported.

Across the last four years, the value of the four-acre estate, which was built in 1997, has risen to roughly $5 million. However, the couple are still paying around $80,000 less a year than they were when they first purchased the property (Pictured in 2009)

Across the last four years, the value of the four-acre estate, which was built in 1997, has risen to roughly $5 million. However, the couple are still paying around $80,000 less a year than they were when they first purchased the property (Pictured in 2009)

Bizarrely, the 2016 devaluation of Loeffler and Sprecher’s home came after the couple made extensive renovations to the property in the year previous (Pictured in 2009)

Bizarrely, the 2016 devaluation of Loeffler and Sprecher’s home came after the couple made extensive renovations to the property in the year previous (Pictured in 2009)

In 2015, the couple reportedly spent nearly $90,000 to renovate the home’s kitchen, $150,000 building a new greenhouse, and $125,000 on improvements to the estate’s gardens (Pictured in 2009)

In 2015, the couple reportedly spent nearly $90,000 to renovate the home’s kitchen, $150,000 building a new greenhouse, and $125,000 on improvements to the estate’s gardens (Pictured in 2009)

In their report, the outlet was unable to find a reason for the drop in value to the Loeffler-Sprecher estate in city and county records, with even local officials unable to provide an explanation.

‘The employees responsible for these changes, including the appraiser, the Residential Property Manager, the Deputy Chief Appraiser and the Chief Appraiser, are no longer within Fulton County and there is no documentation suggesting the cause of these changes,’ a spokesperson for Fulton county said.

The Daily Beast reported that there are no signs to indicate the couple acted improperly via non-public avenues to see their home devalued and tax bill lowered.

Loeffler has so far yet to reply to a request for comment on the report.

Descante was originally listed for $16.9 million. But a after a recession caused the housing market to crash, Loeffler and Sprecher were able to buy it for nearly $7 million below the asking price.

The original owners of the home, situated in the exclusive Buckhead neighborhood, were a soap-opera mogul couple behind the hit-series General Hospital and As the World Turns.

Modeled in the style of an old European estate, Descante is a stucco, steel, and limestone structure that boasts Versailles parquet in the dining room, a library with a secret passage to the living room, and a nineteenth-century pool house imported from France.

When the estate’s value plummeted in 2016, Loeffler and Sprecher were both business executives and philanthropists, with neither holding public office at the time.

Loeffler was appointed to the Senate by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp late last year and was sworn in back in January. She filled a seat previously held by Sen. Johnny Isakson, who stepped down because of health issues.

Descante was originally listed for $16.9 million. But a after a recession crashed the housing market, Loeffler and Sprecher were able to buy it for nearly $7 million below the asking price (Pictured in 2009)

Descante was originally listed for $16.9 million. But a after a recession crashed the housing market, Loeffler and Sprecher were able to buy it for nearly $7 million below the asking price (Pictured in 2009)

The original owners of the home, situated in the exclusive Buckhead neighborhood, were a soap-opera mogul couple behind the hit series General Hospital and As the World Turns (Pictured in 2009)

The original owners of the home, situated in the exclusive Buckhead neighborhood, were a soap-opera mogul couple behind the hit series General Hospital and As the World Turns (Pictured in 2009)

Modeled in the style of an old European estate, Descante is a stucco, steel, and limestone structure that boasts Versailles parquet in the dining room, a library with a secret passage to the living room, and a nineteenth-century pool house imported from France (above)

Modeled in the style of an old European estate, Descante is a stucco, steel, and limestone structure that boasts Versailles parquet in the dining room, a library with a secret passage to the living room, and a nineteenth-century pool house imported from France (above)

A number of property tax and real estate experts in Georgia reportedly told the Daily Beast the dramatic decline in Descante’s value appeared strange.

One source told the outlet that such devaluations are seldom seen unless the property suffers significant damage. ‘Did they demolish the house?’, the source reportedly quipped.

Another tax professional said that inexplicable errors and dramatic changes in valuations are not uncommon in Fulton County, likening the county’s Board of Assessors to ‘a trainwreck’.

‘They’re wrong a lot,’ they added.

Residential properties are appraised every year in Georgia for tax purposes. Home owners are permitted to appeal a county’s valuation if believe it’s been miscalculated in any way.

The Daily Beast said it found no records to indicate that Loeffler or Sprecher has ever appealed the county’s valuation of their home since they bought it more than a decade ago.

But the outlet did find that Fulton County’s Board of Appraisers was enduring a ‘tumultuous’ period when Descante’s value was lowered by $6 million, with chief appraiser David Fitzgibbon fired that year.

He was reportedly dismissed over complaints regarding his management of the assessment system and use of public resources.

This is not the first time an eyebrow of suspicion has been raised toward the financial dealings of Loeffler and Sprecher.

The Daily Beast reported that there are no signs to indicate the couple acted improperly via non-public avenues to see their home devalued and tax bill lowered

The Daily Beast reported that there are no signs to indicate the couple acted improperly via non-public avenues to see their home devalued and tax bill lowered

The couple came under fire earlier this year after it was revealed they traded millions in stocks following a closed briefing on the coronavirus, before the general public was alerted to the severity of the deadly disease.

Loeffler, who on the Senate Health Committee, first began selling stocks on January 24 — the same day that committee held a private all-members session on COVID-19 — and continued making trades in late February and early March.

She sold off 27 stocks – valued at between $1.275 million and $3.1 million – starting in late January until mid-February. Loeffler also sold $18.7 million in International Exchange stock.

The power couple even sold shares in Lululemon ($56,693) and T.J. Maxx ($27,580), two firms that, like other retailers, later found themselves decimated by lockdown orders and the months-long pandemic.

Sprecher, meanwhile, purchased more than $200,000 of stock in in chemical company DuPont de Nemours, which makes protective gear for medical professionals.

The could also purchased stocks valued at between $450,000 and $1 million, including in Citrix, a company that benefits when people are working from home. 

After ProPublica reported on the trades March 19, Loeffler pushed back on Twitter and said she did not have knowledge of the trades before they were made.

‘As confirmed in the periodic transaction report to Senate Ethics, I was informed of these purchases and sales on February 16, 2020—three weeks after they were made,’ she said.

Loeffler, who on the Senate Health Committee, first began selling stocks on January 24 — the same day that committee held a private all-members session on Covid-19 — and continued making trades in late February and early March

Loeffler, who on the Senate Health Committee, first began selling stocks on January 24 — the same day that committee held a private all-members session on Covid-19 — and continued making trades in late February and early March

It was then revealed last week that Sprecher drastically changed his investment strategies in mid-March when he started buying stock, rather than offloading it, according to the Huffington Post.

The multi-millionaire was found to have bought over $1 million in stocks which were likely to soar as a result CARES ACT being signed into law, days before details of the $2 trillion pandemic relief bill were disclosed to the public.

Sprecher managed to invest in several industries – insurance and energy – that were poised to take advantage of the bill’s very specific provisions.

He purchased between $250,000 and $500,000 in shares in Assurant, a financial giant that sells life, catastrophe and property insurance.

In addition, on the same days as a series of closed-door Senate meetings to thrash out the details of the CARES Act, Loeffler’s husband purchased up to $650,000 worth of stock in insurance companies like AIG, Prudential Financial and Assurant.

The companies were well-placed to benefit from a complicated corporate tax scheme written in to the CARES Act.

He also purchased stocks in the energy sector, which was fortuitous because the CARES Act was designed to get the economy moving, and keep the wheels turning. The price of oil had plummeted in the early days of the pandemic, as planes were grounded and industry ground to a halt, and rose after the CARES Act.

Loeffler’s husband bought up to $250,000 in Chevron stock.

In April, facing public pressure about their pre-pandemic selling spree, Loeffler and Sprecher announced they would liquidate all of their individual stock holdings.

Loeffler, who is currently battling to keep her seat ahead of a January 5 run-off, has faced strong questions from her Democrat challenger, Raphael Warnock, about her trades.

Warnock has made accusations that she uses her seat for personal enrichment a constant theme of his attacks.

Loeffler and her husband are worth $800 million, according to Forbes, which makes her the wealthiest senator.

Loeffler also came under fire this week after photo circulating on social media showed her posing with a longtime white supremacist, Chester Doles, at a recent campaign event

Loeffler also came under fire this week after photo circulating on social media showed her posing with a longtime white supremacist, Chester Doles, at a recent campaign event

An FBI inquiry into Loeffler’s pre-pandemic selloff ended without criminal charges. Loeffler said she provided records to the Justice Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Senate Ethics Committee that showed her lack of day-to-day involvement in her and her husband’s investment accounts.

Federal law ― including the Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012 ― prohibits members of Congress from trading on the information they come across in their line of work.

But it is entirely legal for them to buy and sell stocks, or even to vote on legislation that may enrich them.

Loeffler also came under fire this week after photo circulating on social media showed her posing with a longtime white supremacist at a recent campaign event.  

The senator did not know who Chester Doles was when she took a picture with him, her campaign spokesman Stephen Lawson said in a statement to The Associated Press on Sunday. The picture was taken Friday at a campaign event in Dawsonville, Georgia.

‘Kelly had no idea who that was, and if she had she would have kicked him out immediately because we condemn in the most vociferous terms everything that he stands for,’ Lawson said.

Doles is a longtime white supremacist who spent decades in the Ku Klux Klan and the neo-Nazi National Alliance. According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Doles was sentenced to prison for the 1993 beating of a Black man in Maryland and again on weapons violations in Georgia.

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