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THE ROSENWALD ASSESSMENT THAT WILL BE
SPRUNG BEFORE THE SPECIAL GRAND JURY
Sworn statements of Roy 0. West
and Fred W. Blocki, members of the
Board of Review, on-how they fixed
the assessment of Sears,"Roebuck &
Co. shares at one-tenth the value
quoted on the stock exchange show
some of the inside workings of the
Board of Review.
At the close of his testimony in the
Rosenwald case, copies of which will
be brought before the grand jury,
Roy 0. West said: "I don't care to
make a stump speech or have it in
the record, but it is an assessment I
would justify from the housetops."
Parts of test testimony of West, un
der examination by Ass't State's Att'y
Baker, are as follows:
Q This was an original assess
ment of the Board of Review, was it?
A It was. Augusta M. Rosenwald,
4901 Ellis av., was assessed nothing,
and the Board of Review on its own
complaint, sent for the taxpayer and
assessed her as it intended to assess
Q I will ask you to look at this
document I hand you now, the so
called certificate of error, and ask
you whether you are familiar with
it A I am
Q Can you identify the signatures
on it. A I can.
q whose signatures are they?
A The members of the Board of Re
view, Thomas J. Webb, Fred W.
Blocki and myself.
Q These are also signatures of
some of the assessors? A Mr. Mich
ael K. Sheridan, David Pfaelzer and
Prank Koraleski. I should say they
are the signatures of those gentle
men. Q Will you state the circum
stances of this so-called certificate
of error? A A member of the
representatives of Mrs. Rosenwald
appealed to the Board of Review for
a certificate of error, stating that the
amount against Mrs. Rosenwald had
been entered at 441,320, instead of
$44,132, full value. Accordingly the
Board of Review issued this certifi
cate, because the assessment did not
represent the finding of the Board
of Review when it made the assess
ment. Q Did you make a computation
at the original hearing of the com
plaint? A Yes.
Q Now, did you make any similar
clerical error in any other cases ex
cept this one? A No. By the way,
I did make a similar error in Mr.
Rosenwald's assessment and discov
ered it before I entered the order.
"In determining the value of the
stock," West said, "if you divide 441,
320 by 2,596 you will get about the
price. As I recall, it was about 160
or 170. We assessed the property at
one-tenth of what it was listed at in
sales in small lots on the stock ex
change at the time. On the theory
that would be about the full, fair cash
value on the 1st day of April, 1913."
Q Now, in other words, the full,
fair cash value as arrived at by you
of the 2,596 shares of stock is, or
was, $441,320? A No. It was one
tenth of that. I multiplied 2,596 by
using the round numbers prob
ably 160 or 170.
Q About 170, as I figure it here?
A Yes, being the price at which the
stock in small lots had been sold on
the stock exchange on the 1st of
April, 1913, and we calculated that
inasmuch as it was common stock
which represented good will and
earning capacity rather than book
value and tangible value, that about
one-tenth of that would be the full,
fair cash value. The mistake is as
sessment arose because "after I had
detected it that way, I omitted to take
the 10 per cent. I took 100 per cent
of that result rather than one-tenth
of that result. That is the way the
mistake occurred which -made a cer
tificate of error necessary.
Q Then, as I understand it, in