Chuck Gray’s Dad Takes Property Tax Fight To Wyoming Supreme Court 

Jan Charles Gray, father to Wyoming's Secretary of State, has warred with the Converse County Assessor's Office for years regarding property values on his Glenrock vacant lots, and now is appealing to the Wyoming Supreme Court for help.

Clair McFarland

March 24, 20234 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

By Clair McFarland, State Courts And Crime Reporter 

The Wyoming Secretary of State’s father has appealed his property tax dispute to the state Supreme Court.  

Jan Charles Gray, of Casper, who is father to Secretary of State Chuck Gray, appealed to the high court Monday in an ongoing land-value dispute against the Converse County Assessor’s Office.  

Gray has disputed the county’s assessment of his land values for years, with his latest complaint stemming from 2020.  He said the county determined vacant land values in Converse County went down that year for everyone except him. His 115 vacant lots in the Sunup Ridge subdivision in Glenrock went up in assessed value in 2020, wrote Gray.  

Higher assessed values lead to higher property taxes in Wyoming.  

Gray in 2020 appealed against Converse County Assessor Dixie Huxtable to the Converse County Board of Equalization, which ruled against him. 

In 2021 Gray appealed the case again to the State Board of Equalization, which also ruled against him and upheld the assessor’s valuations of his land.  

‘Waste Of Time’ 

And on Feb. 2 of this year, Converse County District Court Judge Richard Lavery also decided against Gray in a court appeal of the case, issuing strong words in the process.  

Lavery said Gray “essentially… copied” wording from a prior, lost tax dispute against the county into this new appeal, “without disclosing to the Court that he did so.”  

When considering appeals generally, courts look for errors in the way the case was handled by lower authorities.

“Submitting a copy and paste appeal without notifying the Court is not only a waste of the time and resources of the Court and opposing party, but also deceptive, and may be grounds to sanction a lawyer or party,” wrote Lavery. 

In this case, Gray was representing himself. He is a trained attorney and is licensed in Wyoming.  

A Few Seconds Each 

Gray’s complaint against the county assessor says that she did not spend enough time visiting his properties in order to assess them properly as required by state law. He alleged that she spent less than 17.5 seconds on each lot “as she drove around in 2016.”  

Converse County Attorney Quentin Richardson rebutted, saying the assessor has visited Gray’s properties “multiple times,” reviewed them and taken photographs of them.  

“You can take one look and see multiple lots in one view,” wrote Richardson, adding that it doesn’t take long to assess them physically because “the inspection is to determine if the vacant lots are still vacant or if they have been changed in any way with improvements.”  

Gray’s lots are contiguous or closely situated, said Richardson.  

Oil Prices 

Gray said that the value of his lots should have gone down, not up, due to a decline in oil prices. He also said the assessor didn’t have sales from the region to determine a value hike on his land.  

“Other areas of the County significantly decreased (in value)… but not the Gray lots,” wrote Gray.  

He also accused the County Board of Equalization of not letting him testify at his hearing, but the county said that claim was false.  

“All witnesses he called,” wrote Richardson, “were allowed to testify.”  

Those witnesses were Gray and the assessor.  

Richardson said other factors beyond the oil prices were taken into account when evaluating Gray’s land, and there were sales in the area to support the assessor’s values.  

He also said that the quantity of vacant lots went down in the county as lots became occupied, leading to a decline in the total value amount ascribed to vacant lots, in lump sum, county wide.  

“Petitioner (Gray) cites his higher taxes and from there extrapolates that something is wrong with the appraisal methods,” wrote Richardson.  

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter