Francis W. Little House fully restored

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Roderick Grant
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Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Post by Roderick Grant »

This is true, ross, however, wrightgeek, you ought to have expressed your sentiments on your own behalf rather than to presume to speak for all of us.

Art is the ultimate expression of philosophy, about which only opinions can be expressed. Facts are reserved for science. To insist that no contrary points of view be made on any given subject without mollifying qualifications to avoid bruising egos is to bring effective discourse to an end. There may have been comments made with which Mrs. Muir disagreed, but there was nothing said that was untoward or required apology.

Wrightgeek
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Location: Westerville, Ohio

Post by Wrightgeek »

RGrant-

Thank you for pointing this out, and please accept my apologies for being presumptuous enough to think that my response represented the thoughts of our esteemed group as a whole. My intent was not to put words into the mouths of others, but rather to try to mollify the situation.

Please consider yourself removed from any responsibility for my words.

Paul Ringstrom
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Joined: Sat Sep 17, 2005 4:53 pm
Location: Mason City, IA

Post by Paul Ringstrom »

I think those that own, love and restore these houses and invest more in that restoration than they will ever get on resale should protect their investment with a facade easement (with or without tax credits) as an expression of their interest in historic preservation.

John
Posts: 421
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 12:25 am
Location: Shoreview, MN

Little I

Post by John »

And that (easement) can and should be done through the Conservancy.

peterm
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Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

Post by peterm »

Mrs. Muir-

First of all, welcome to Wright Chat!

This site reflects the views of scholars, architects, homeowners, craftsmen, designers, fans, critics, and people who have a broad interest in architecture, specifically that of Frank Lloyd Wright. As a fellow Wright homeowner, I applaud the work and energy you have put into your house. Only an owner of one of these treasures can truly understand the responsibility of maintaining and hopefully improving the condition of these treasures.

However, I have a contrary interest in this chat site. This is a place where one can ask questions, receive advice, study and learn an enormous amount, if one is willing to take some things with a grain of salt. Your overly sensitive reaction to a few criticisms saddens me, because the expertise of so many others, which could be so helpful, might be rejected for the sake of a bruised ego. The fact that one is lucky (or as you put it "blessed...") enough to live in a masterpiece does not mean that it comes without a price (I am not talking about the money...) Maybe it is important to imagine an owner not as the privileged one who competed and won a prize that others are not worthy of, but as a caretaker of an artwork, in the same way that a museum has the responsibility to care for the condition and safety of their pieces. There is always controversy and difference of opinion within the art world, but generally the consensus is that the art comes first, and the owner is merely one of many stewards who will be responsible for it over its lifetime.

If there were specific criticisms which you objected to, please help us and set the record straight, because most of us are here to learn and share, not shout and make war.

We need more voices from owners of these houses, but please be aware that the purpose of this site is to talk about the best way to preserve these treasures, and there will be as many opinions about that as there are members!
Last edited by peterm on Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Wrightgeek
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Location: Westerville, Ohio

Post by Wrightgeek »

Thanks for adding the FLW homeowner perspective to this coversation, peterm. I hope that Mr. & Mrs. Muir heed your advice and become an ongoing part of the Wright Chat conversation. We will all be the beneficiaries of such a dialogue.

ross
Posts: 223
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2011 10:49 am

Post by ross »

Roderick Grant wrote:To insist that no contrary points of view be made on any given subject without mollifying qualifications to avoid bruising egos is to bring effective discourse to an end.
Well, Mrs. Muir expressed herself without mollifying qualifications and seemed unconcerned about bruising egos. I think she did herself a disservice. And I cringe whenever people resort to personal attacks.

When discoursing, I think it is fine to state (for example):

X issue is historically inaccurate

X issue is out of scale

X issue looks poorly built/detailed.


Etc.

IMO, I think discourse is degraded when people state (for example):

X issue is ugly.

What were they thinking?

It’s a horror!


Etc.

I think effective discourse is enlarged by people being civil.

ross
Posts: 223
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2011 10:49 am

Post by ross »

Wrightgeek wrote:My intent was not to put words into the mouths of others, but rather to try to mollify the situation.
Again, I think your response was very gracious. When I first read it my thought was: Thank goodness someone posted this!

peterm
Posts: 6297
Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2008 10:27 am
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

Post by peterm »

The Muir's originally wanted to add a two story addition to the 4,000 square foot house:

http://www.pjstar.com/news/x1691678025/ ... auses-stir

Thankfully, objections were voiced and the couple responded properly by changing their plans...

(I just noticed that egads already posted this link. Pardon the redundancy...)

pharding
Posts: 2253
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2005 5:19 pm
Location: River Forest, Illinois
Contact:

Re: Little I

Post by pharding »

John wrote:And that (easement) can and should be done through the Conservancy.
The FLW Building Conservancy is no longer doing them for a homeowner tax deduction, unfortunately.
Last edited by pharding on Fri Jun 22, 2012 10:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Paul Harding FAIA Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, 1941 Lloyd Lewis House, 1952 Glore House | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

John
Posts: 421
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 12:25 am
Location: Shoreview, MN

Re: Little I

Post by John »

pharding wrote:
John wrote:And that (easement) can and should be done through the Conservancy.
The FLW Building Conservancy is no longer doing them, unfortunately.
Please explain. Is it a tax issue?

If not the Conservancy, then who, or what?

John
Posts: 421
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 12:25 am
Location: Shoreview, MN

Little I

Post by John »

"This house is part of the public domain. We are known as terrific advocates for older homes, and somehow we didn't do it for this house," said Margaret Cousin, a longtime resident of Moss Avenue. "I am deeply chagrined over how this process played out."

"...in the public domain." Indeed.

I regret that at one time I, too, saw the work being done and didn't suspect that anything was awry.

pharding
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Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2005 5:19 pm
Location: River Forest, Illinois
Contact:

Post by pharding »

John wrote:...Please explain. Is it a tax issue? If not the Conservancy, then who, or what?
The IRS under the Obama Administration is relentlessly rejecting them for the most minor minutia of claimed reasons. This policy of the Obama Administration is causing expensive legal fees for homeowners and preservation organizations, like FLWBC, for those that contest the IRS rulings. If one desires a facade easement and tax deduction one cannot do it with the FLWBC. The FLWBC will do a facade easement without the deduction.
Paul Harding FAIA Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, 1941 Lloyd Lewis House, 1952 Glore House | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

John
Posts: 421
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 12:25 am
Location: Shoreview, MN

Easements

Post by John »

IT AIN'T OBAMA!

Legislation sponsored by Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley to wit:

SUMMARY OF SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY’S NON-PROFIT OVERSIGHT November 20, 2007


"Charitable contributions of facade easements. This curbs the practice of individuals taking an excessive tax deduction for agreeing not to change the facade of an historic building and donating that facade to preservation groups."

pharding
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Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2005 5:19 pm
Location: River Forest, Illinois
Contact:

Re: Easements

Post by pharding »

John wrote:IT AIN'T OBAMA! ,,,,,
That is certainly not true. However you are correct that Senator Grassley's investigation triggered scrutiny of facade easements by the IRS during the Bush II Administration. In the Bush II Administration the IRS focused on facade easements audits that were fundamentally flawed, ie facade easement tax deductions claimed on houses in historic districts that mandated no facade changes. According to my attorney, who is the pre-eminent facade easement and conservation easement tax attorney in the Midwest, the IRS under under the Obama Administration made major changes to the IRS approach to facade easements. With their new approach under the Obama Administration, the IRS will do the following if a taxpayer is audited with a facade easement according my attorney. Audits move through several levels with the IRS as the audit goes before higher and higher level management. Now at the first level the IRS automatically denies the facade easement every time. My attorney has never known the IRS not to do this. This draws in the preservation agency in addition to the tax filer(s). If one decides to press on to a higher level the discussion will focus on the most minute of technical reasons that may or may not be real. The intent of the law means absolutely nothing. It is extremely rare for the IRS to close the audit at this level unless the taxpayer gives in and withdraws the facade easement tax deduction. At the next level before the thing goes to court, historically the IRS Senior Staff would make an effort to resolve the situation in an semi-equitable manner, if warranted based upon the facts so as to save the Federal Government and the taxpayer the cost of going to court. Under the Obama Administration this has shifted. My attorney had numerous cases where the IRS attorneys had verbally agreed that the issue would be resolved equitably to both parties. Then the Obama IRS decided that no out of court settlements would be made. This was done by written directive from the top level of the IRS in Washington. Even the IRS attorneys have stated to my attorney privately that this is grossly unfair to some taxpayers. This forced the taxpayer to either drop the facade easement tax deduction or spend $30,000 to $50,000 on attorney fees and expensive consultants. In many cases, the end value of the facade easement tax deduction is equal to this range costs to resolve the issue in court, so the taxpayer, regardless of the legality of their facade easement, generally just give up. The preservation organization also has legal and administrative expenses associated with the IRS challenges to every facade easement. Plus the IRS has chosen to threaten preservation organizations with taking away their tax exempt status.

Based upon my first hand personal knowledge of how the IRS is skirting the law and intent of Congress, I am disgusted with the situation. I am just the poor sap in the middle of the political spectrum that optimistically hopes the President of the United States, Senators, and Congress will work to do what is best for the country and at the same time respect the laws of the country. After seeing the Bush II Administration ignore the laws of our country and make some horrible decisions, I voted for Obama. However now that I see the President Obama has chosen to ignore Federal laws, like tax laws on facade easement, I am disillusioned with him and his administration of the IRS.
Paul Harding FAIA Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, 1941 Lloyd Lewis House, 1952 Glore House | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

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