"Our take is that the buildings are being occupied by people who are making a buck, so they ought to be paying their taxes," Ladd says.
Normally, the case before the state Board of Assessment Appeals would be between Jefferson County and the state Division of Property Taxation, which granted Lutheran the exemptions. Yet Lutheran is taking no chances. It has retained one of the best property lawyers in the state, Jim Butler.
Butler claims there is no question that Lutheran's new office buildings meet the definition of "related business" and thus deserve their tax exemption. "It's just like turning a key in a lock," he says. "If you meet the exemptions, you get the tax break."
As a result, Butler says, Pettit's objections to giving a tax break to Lutheran's next-door office buildings are misdirected. "Her frustration needs to be addressed to the legislature, not the tax man," he says.