Rick Singh Is The Orange County Property Appraiser
Rick Singh is the incumbent for the Orange County Property Appraiser’s Office. According to his website, he has appraised more than $1 trillion in market value in Orange County since 2013. He began his career as a field appraiser almost 20 years ago and rose through the ranks to his current position.
Mercado has had to contend with a toxic environment and a criminal investigation. She’s also at odds with Disney, which she’s often sparred with over appraisals. She’s also been under fire for her controversial work, as she was branded as an “illegal property appraiser” by an appeals court ruling. She’s faced challenges from two write-in candidates, one of whom is a former Orange County commissioner who sued her in 2017.
Mercado, who is a former state representative from south Orange County, won the property appraiser race with 95% of the vote, beating Rick Singh, who received 92% of the vote. Mercado also faced a write-in candidate, who received 2% of the vote.
Though Rick Singh was the incumbent Orange County Property Appraiser for eight years, his tenure was marred by scandals and allegations of mismanagement. He claimed to make big property owners pay fairer taxes to the public. But Amy Mercado, a two-term state representative, beat Singh in Tuesday’s Democratic primary, restoring public trust in the Property Appraiser’s office. Her campaign had focused on bringing accountability to the property appraiser’s office and preventing whistleblower complaints.
Mercado is also the first Puerto Rican woman to hold a political office in Orange County. In a speech to constituents in Spanish, Mercado thanked voters for giving her this opportunity to serve the community. She also thanked her father, former state senator Victor Torres, her uncle Hector Rodriguez, and other trailblazing women in Orange County.
In his first year in office, Singh has returned $51 million to the tax base of Orange County. He has also improved the agency’s investigation work and has vigorously pursued fraudulent claims. This has led to an increase in the tax roll, which in turn means more taxable value and greater tax resources for community benefits.
The charges against Singh come after three former employees filed federal whistleblower lawsuits. One of them alleges that Singh misappropriated taxpayer money and created a hostile work environment. The allegations were made by former communications director Laverne McGee and finance director Aisha Hassan. An investigation by Florida Department of Law Enforcement found that Singh had manipulated records related to fuel expenses. The investigation is ongoing.
The Orange County Property Appraiser’s office has a toxic work environment, a criminal investigation, and a history of clashes with the Walt Disney Company. In fact, Singh lost a recent appellate court case, branded the appraisal method used by his office as illegal. Mercado will face two write-in candidates. However, she is not expected to lose the race. The primary election is scheduled for Aug. 18.
Rick Singh, Orange County Property Appraiser (OCPA) is a member of the Orange County Property Appraisers Association (OCPA). He was elected by a wide margin in 2016. He began his career as a field appraiser for the OCPA twenty years ago and was elected as a State-Certified Residential Appraiser in 1999. He also oversees operations of the busy office.