FROM THE COLUMBIA COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 14CV-13-84]
HONORABLE DAVID F. GUTHRIE, JUDGE.
& Phillips, P.A., by: Ryan Phillips, for appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Juliane Chavis, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
F. VIRDEN, Judge.
an administrative appeal arising out of the Arkansas
Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board's (the
Board's) order sanctioning Teddy Reynolds on the basis of
his alleged failure to comply with the Uniform Standards
of Professional Appraisal Practices (USPAP). Reynolds
appealed the Board's decision to the Columbia County
Circuit Court, which affirmed. Reynolds now seeks our
court's review of the Board's decision, arguing
generally that the Board's decision is not supported by
substantial evidence, is arbitrary and capricious, and lacks
sufficient findings of fact. Having fully considered the
arguments on appeal, we affirm the Board's decision.
Background and Procedural History
Reynolds is a licensed general appraiser in the state of
Arkansas, and his conduct as an appraiser is governed by the
USPAP. In 2009, Louisiana Land Bank engaged Reynolds to
prepare an appraisal on land owned by Michael Worley because
it was contemplating extending credit to Worley. The land,
known as Delta Duck Farms, consists of 702 acres in Monroe
County, which Worley purchased in two tracts in 2009. Worley
intended to build a luxury hunting lodge and specialty barn
on the land. He also planned to use a portion of the land for
agronomy and recreation.
prepared a summary appraisal report for Louisiana Land Bank
in January 2010. The appraisal included a workfile, which
contained several pages of Excel documents. The appraisal was
also sent to Worley who, in turn, shopped the appraisal to
several other banks in an attempt to get the best loan terms.
Ultimately, Louisiana Land Bank declined to offer a loan to
2011, an anonymous complaint against Reynolds was filed with
the Board based on his appraisal for Louisiana Land Bank. The
Board, through chief investigator Diana Piechocki,
investigated the complaint. In the course of Piechocki's
investigation, she reviewed the appraisal and a portion of
Reynolds's workfile, although she did not review the
Excel documents Reynolds created and included as part of his
appraisal. Piechocki found several critical deficiencies in
Reynolds's appraisal, and formal charges were lodged
against him. The general basis of the complaint and
subsequent charges against Reynolds was that his appraisal
lacked the required specificity, especially as it related to
his failure to analyze his findings in narrative form.
Board held a hearing on those charges in March 2013. At the
beginning of the hearing, the Board considered whether a
continuance should be granted. It was determined that in
investigating the charges, Piechocki had not reviewed
Reynolds's Excel documents. Reynolds's counsel
requested a continuance for Piechocki to inspect them,
thinking that her opinion on his appraisal would be changed
by the examination. Counsel for the Board suggested that the
hearing continue as scheduled, allotting time for Piechocki
to examine the documents during the hearing. In suggesting
this, the Board's counsel mentioned that Reynolds could
present the documents to the Board and that this was
sufficient to overcome any prejudice because ultimately the
Board would decide whether any violations had been committed.
The Board voted to go forward with the hearing.
and Reynolds testified. Often, the hearing focused on how
much narrative must be included in an appraisal. Piechocki
testified regarding the deficiencies she found initially in
Reynolds's appraisal. She then reviewed the Excel
documents and testified that they did not change her opinion.
Reynolds also testified in his defense. However, during his
testimony, he admitted that his appraisal was lacking in
narrative and should have been more developed. He further
conceded that he would do things differently if given the
opportunity. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board
voted to sanction Reynolds.
April 2013, the Board entered findings of fact, conclusions
of law, and an order. The Board's findings of fact and
whether they are supported by substantial evidence are the
crux of this appeal. The Board found:
F3. That [Reynolds] did not analyze the prior transfers of
the subject property within the past 36 months.
F4. That [Reynolds] has failed to include support or
explanation in the report or workfile as to the basis for
adjustments he has made in the approaches to value.
[Reynolds] has not included an allowance or explanation in
the Cost Approach as to the existence of any Functional or
External Obsolescence. That ...