Tax assessment doxxing weaponized: Borough assessors target Rep. McCabe’s home based on ‘reporter’s complaint’

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A complaint filed with the Mat-Su Borough’s Assessment Office led to two property assessors showing up at the home of Rep. Kevin McCabe on Friday. They were there to do an inspection and reassessment because someone they would only identify as a “reporter” had made a complaint that McCabe’s property wasn’t assessed high enough.

None of the properties around that neighborhood have been assessed since 2013, and McCabe said he asked the assessors if they were also doing an assessment on any of the other seven homes in the area between East and West Papoose Lakes. No, they told him, just his property. They weren’t going to reassess anyone else’s properties.

McCabe says he has 40 acres, a house, and a pole barn, plus a couple of chicken coops. There’s nothing special about his place, he said, that would make it stand out for a targeted reassessment.

 “I welcomed the borough assessors to come look at my property. I have nothing to hide and they were consumate professionals and very pleasant (and apologetic). When asked, they admitted that they came only to assess my property at the request of some reporter,” McCabe said. “It sucks that people can weaponize the bureaucracy to harass a public official whom they disagree with politically. Where does that end? Can anyone ask the borough assessors office to go out and assess an opponents property? I don’t agree with some of the assembly members position on things, can I ask that they have a special assessment?” McCabe said. 

McCabe noted that the lack of property assessments in the area is emblematic of the growth the borough has experienced. “The borough provides no means to self-report ones properties value – and I am not an appraiser anyway,” he said.

McCabe was the subject of a lawsuit earlier this year lodged by former newsman Mark Kelsey, who complained that he had been blocked from McCabe’s official Facebook page. Kelsey, a Mat-Su borough resident but not a constituent of McCabe’s, filed the lawsuit June 1 in Anchorage Superior Court. Kelsey was a publisher of the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman from 2011-2016, and had been a reporter and managing editor for the paper and other newspapers at various times before that. He also worked for the Department of Commerce for a few years.

Kelsey has, in the past, posted extensive social media comments specifically relating to McCabe’s property, including his tax assessment information that is available at the borough, and has called him out as a “tax chiseler.”

Kelsey’s lawsuit over being blocked on Facebook, and others similarly brought against legislators, have prompted the Legislature to begin to revise the wording on its social media policies. Lawmakers have to walk a fine line — they need to allow people to comment on their official pages, but also need to protect people from being abused, bullied, harassed, and elected officials have to monitor comments for vulgarity and threats.

The Legislature’s current social media policy was last updated in 2011 and Alaska has no case law to inform the issue about when a lawmaker can block someone for repeated instances of harassment.

But meanwhile, it appears a resident of the borough — maybe one with strong political and criticisms of Republicans — has elevated the doxxing of a lawmaker to a new level — sic’ing the property assessors on him to increase his tax payments.

30 COMMENTS

  1. With all the new building going on, property taxes should be going DOWN. And down by a lot. Look how many $1 million plus buildings have been built in the last couple years and all the homes. Borough should be either creating its own rainy day fund or returning that extra money back to the taxpayers.

    • All of that new property requires supporting infrastructure—residential or commercial. Think about new traffic lights, expanded road service areas, utilities, more school students, etc. Private investment doesn’t mean the MSB is suddenly flush with cash and has not legitimate use for it—it has expanded its number and area of constituents.

  2. When a complaint from a reporter comes in, the Borough should also re-appraise the property of the complainer or reporter to be fair.
    But, fairness is not the business of politics.

      • MRAK Fan,
        calm down and get back on your meds. You sound angry and more like a Democrat trying to belittle and instruct people. Real MRAK fans aren’t on your page of unfriendliness. Try a different forum to vent your rage. You sound like an intruder with lots of time on your hands and an abundant supply of anger.

  3. I think this kind of attack can be included in the overall atmosphere of civil war. Our hatred and envy for each other finds multiple ways of warfare. While it is little relief, and I’m also not in Mr. McCabe’s district, I want to thank him for his public service in the face of such hatred and abuse. Mr. Kelsey should be ashamed of himself, but we know he isn’t. I wonder when the last time his property has been assessed?

  4. The anonymous doxing should not be allowed.

    McCabe should have stood his ground and told the assessors that were quite welcome to tour his property and update the assessment, but only after they told him who the cowardly, chickensh*t “tipster” is, and that until then the assessors were considered to be trespassers, and they should leave.

    Fair is fair. The public is entitled to transparency from our elected officials, but McCabe is also entitled to know who is demanding that the MSB re-assess his property.

  5. Kelsey’s “He’s still paying taxes on assessed value from 2013, when his house was only 42 percent finished.” comment reeks of sour grapes and envy. I wonder if Kelsey would self-report an increase in the value of his property? Probably not.

    Sounds like Kelsey is just another whiny, Leftist “pay their fair share” loon. Wonder how many “rich” Democrat politicians live in Mat-Su that he’s never bothered to “investigate”?

  6. Looks like California will soon be the largest state in the country, as soon as they finish absorbing Alaska. We seem to be well on our way.

  7. Here in Juneau they don’t like the self employed and those who own commercial real estate. They bumped property values 50% right after the pandemic when many where hurting. When asked about this huge jump, the response was “We haven’t raised them for years and some people are making a lot of money. We could have gone 25,50,100%, we chose 50%.” Many owners retained attorneys and now the assessment department is bogged down in lawsuits.

  8. Kelsey is the “reporter” even though he’s not. He’s does have full blown Trump Derangement Syndrome. It’s all over his social media. He’s been harassing McCabe for months. Shame on the MSB for doing his dirty work! Where’s the Mayor??!! I didn’t know some can just go in and demand an assessment on someone’s else’s property and the Borough will jump right on it. Kelsey is going to hurt someone. Just wait. MEA better take note. There’s something not right with that man. Stay strong Rep McCabe, even though I’m not in your district, you are doing an incredible job. Thank you for your service to our country and state.

  9. Kelsey has been doing this for years. At one point I heard he had attempted to bribe Tuckerman Babcock. He has harrassed staff in the capital as well as mayoral candidates and others who do not believe as he does. He is a disagreeable man with nothing better to do than stalk and attack conservatives or libertarians. He likes to think himself an investigative reporter and activist. What he really is, is a lonely stalker and a tempermental psychotic human . I believe he was “asked to go spend more time with his family” from his last stint at the Frontiersman because of his anger issues.

    And guess what valley people – he is the latest addition to the MEA board of directors. What a shameful appointment from the oft embatled MEA board.

  10. I call on MEA to replace him on the Board. He has spent an inordinate amount of time and effort to harass McCabe. Psycho. Why? Because McCabe isn’t bowing to his demands of getting rid of Eastman? Actually, it looks like he’s harassed all the Valley legislators, if you look at his social media. McCabe, take it as a compliment that Kelsey thinks you have the power to do that! As a funny side note- if you look at McCabe’s bio, he turns 65 next year. Senior Exemption!! What a waste of taxpayer money simply to harass a legislator. From what I know of McCabe, Kelsey picked the wrong fight.

    • Too bad the court record to date tells a completely different story. Word on the street is that Rep. McCabe got his butt handed to him in court recently by a 20-something woman lawyer who spun him up into a hissy fit and exposed him for the arrogant, weak, blustering bully he is.

      But sure, let’s give him a pass on his property taxes just because he turns 65 next year. No reason he should finally be paying his fair share after all these years, right? Let’s continue to upgrade his road, too, with funds contributed by the honest property-tax payers of Big Lake. He’s entitled. Just ask him.

      Look no further than this for the reason so many people find politics and self-serving politicians like Kevin McCabe so distasteful.

  11. Seems like revenge by the reporter. On the other hand, if I knew (or suspected) someone wasn’t paying their fair share while I was, I’d be tempted to correct the situation.

    • This is not about property taxes. Kelsey has been after McCabe for more than a year. He wrote an op-ed in the frontiersman last spring and when McCabe ignored him he started his BS on Facebook. But to your point, do you know exactly how much your own house and property would appraise for? If not, then how would you know, or suspect, that the value that the borough put on someone elses property was correct?

      None of us value or assess our own property. That falls to the borough. The thought that someone “wasn’t paying their fair share,” and that it is somehow their fault (and your duty to complain) is laughable. Would you ever call the borough and tell them you don’t think you are paying your fair share? Kelsey is trying to drum up opposition agianst McCabe and, in the process, is demonstrating how clueless he really is. I cannot believe he was the publisher of a newspaper. And I cannot believe the MEA board picked him to fill that empty seat.

      • I know nothing of the back story, but my point was more broad. If someone. say a restaurant owner was cheating on her taxes, wouldn’t you consider reporting it?

    • If MSB doesn’t respond like this for every complaint then this is discrimination. Plain and simple. I think they made a HUGE mistake doing what they did to Rep McCabe.

    • You probably would too. Even if you were a married woman with a household income of 2 high earners. You found out your child’s daycare owner cut a single mother childcare expence by 50% because she is paying out of pocket. You’d get angry.

  12. Kevin, the assessors may have been nice, but once they admitted they were there because of politics: HARD NO. Come back when you’re assessing everyone else.

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