Below are some examples of different types of matters we have worked on.
EXXON VALDEZ OIL SPILL
In the aftermath of the 1989 grounding of the tanker-vessel Exxon Valdez and the oil spill that occurred, we performed the analysis of the effect on market value of land ownerships in the oiled areas along the southern coast of Alaska. This work and our lead expert testimony was relied upon in as part of the multi-billion dollar state litigation involving the spill.
FBI AND FBI ACADEMY
We consulted for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and instructed courses at the FBI Academy in Quantico, VA, regarding the investigation of appraisal fraud.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR, GAO, BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
We performed forensic investigations of multiple federal departments and agencies, including criminal investigations, of the appraisal processes the federal government relies upon. These investigations have involved the examination of thousands of real estate appraisals and the formation, per our recommendation of the Appraisal Services Directorate within the Department of Interior.
APPRAISALS AND THE 2008 ECONOMIC COLLAPSE
We provided counsel on the examination of tens of thousands of residential real estate appraisals relied upon by various of the nation's largest lenders. These appraisals were associated with loan defaults that occurred in the 2006 to 2008 range.
ROCKY FLATS NUCLEAR WEAPONS PLANT
The Rocky Flats nuclear weapons facility located 30 miles northwest of Denver, CO was raided by the FBI in 1989. Subsequently, a class action lawsuit was filed against the two operators of the plant, Rockwell International and Dow Chemical, claiming diminution of residential market values in the area around the plant as a result of alleged plutonium releases from the plant. We performed an analysis of the market in which 50,000+ residences in the area over a multi-decade timespan and provided the lead valuation expert testimony at the federal trial.
CHARLES KEATING CRIMINAL TRIAL
After examining the holdings and coming to a conclusion on the invest merit of assets of Lincoln Savings & Loan, which collapsed in 1989, we provided testimony at criminal trial of its president, Charles Keating.
In the litigation involving a massive wildfire in eastern Wyoming, one of the experts provided a damage conclusion using a before-and-after analysis where the before-and-after dates were separated by nearly a three year window. We provided rebuttal testimony as part of a Daubert challenge explaining the why this approach ran contrary to generally accepted economic principles on the calculation of damages.
GROUND WATER CONTAMINATION
In two separate class action lawsuits involving TCE contamination of groundwater affecting around 125,000 residences in the Phoenix area, we performed a comprehensive economic analysis of the market effect of the contamination. This analysis was a key component of the trials involving the contamination.
Misapplication of appraisals is something we commonly see in partnership disputes. As an example, party A owns a series of buildings for which it has appraisals performed for each. Party A then brings Party B in as a 30% partner, pricing the sale of 30% of its stock on the total value of the buildings, the appraised values of which it discloses to Party B. However, it turns out that some of the appraisals were of the fee simple rights and the remainder of of the leased fee rights, producing wildly different types of value conclusions. Did Party B over- or under-pay? Was Party A acting fraudulently? If both parties decide to dissolve the partnership and split the assets on a 70/30-basis, to what extent, if any, should they rely on the appraisals? The nuances and pitfalls in these types of disputes can be enormous and can be unnecessarily confounded and confused through the use of typical appraisal reviews. Economic valuation processes can provide the necessary clarity to properly understand the issues at hand.
In the course of three weeks, we assembled a team to investigate approximately 400 boxes of deliberately disorganized files relating to transactions, appraisals, and operations of the real estate holdings of the Baptist Foundation of Arizona ("BFA"), in the wake of its collapse, the largest collapse of a religious financial institution in U.S. history. BFA had operated as a Ponzi scheme for years, yet received an annual clean bill of health from its auditor, Arthur Andersen ("AA"). Our work assisted in the $217-million settlement AA agreed to, just prior to AA's bankruptcy as a result of its work with Enron.
As a result of our involvement with the annual tax appeals of the Trans Alaska Pipeline, we were asked by the U.S. Department of Justice to provide litigation support and testimony on the value implications to a parcel of land on a peninsula in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, from horizontal drilling operations that pumped oil across the parcel.