Dickinson property owner Carlos Royal has launched a GoFundMe page to raise funds for a potential class action lawsuit against the city of Dickinson.

Royal is attempting to raise $50,000 to challenge the city's tax assessment process on behalf of "all the property owners in Dickinson who have over-assessed properties."

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Royal confronted city and county commissioners throughout 2017, arguing that his properties, and Dickinson motels and apartments, are being overassessed.

"They raised the taxes during the oil boom, but they started overbuilding apartments and the apartments started to crash in 2013. Their peak year was 2013. That means apartments have been on the downturn," Royal said. "Rents are off 75 percent, but taxes have only dropped 17 percent."

The assessments are "way over line," Royal said, by as much as 300 percent.

"I own a property called Park Place in Dickinson," he said. "The property right around the corner, absolutely identical to mine, built by the same builder, the same year, everything "Years ago, that property sold for $360,000 and the assessor's telling me mine's worth $750,000."

The current assessments on his properties have affected him negatively, Royal said.

"My income is diminishing. I went from having income to, like with this property, no income," he said. "Fortunately I own some other properties and properties in other states, but if that was the only property I owned I would be destitute as the city walked off with $7,000."

Royal took umbrage at the city's abatement hearing process, calling it "a joke."

"The hearing's fixed," he said. "I presented independent appraisals and they just ignore it. They say the assessor's right and he's wrong. Period."

Many more, Royal said, are also being burdened by unfair assessments.

"Over 100 people have filed for abatements in Dickinson," he said. "That means they've questioned the value, and 100 percent of them have been turned down. That's not even statistically possible that the assessor is 100 percent accurate in every case. The fix is in!"

A "tax revolt," Royal said, and class action suit are the only ways to be heard.

"You don't get a fair hearing in Dickinson," he said. "I went to the city. I went to the county. I presented appraisals. I presented income and expenses. I presented comparable sales. And the first words out of the commissioner's mouth was, 'I request Mr. Royal's petition be denied.' "

The law is clear, Royal said.

"My properties, all properties, are to be listed on the tax rolls at their fair market value," he said. "They're trying to tell me a property that produces no income, zero, is worth $700,000 in Dickinson and people are running down to buy them. That's just hogwash!"

Since launching the page on Saturday, Royal has not received any donations. If he is unable to raise the funds, he said he will proceed with a lawsuit anyway.

"I'm going forward. It just depends on how big a case does it become," he said. "Does it become a big class action suit with a whole lot of people, or just Carlos Royal out there, fighting?"

Royal is optimistic a lawsuit would be successful.

"There is no question. If we can get to an impartial judge or an impartial hearing that they will change my assessed values," he said. "I have no doubt about it."

More information can be found at Royal's GoFundMe page: https://www.gofundme.com/real-estate-tax-assessment-revolt.