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was introduced on the hearing of this cause and additional evidence was offered by both parties. Evidence was introduced to show that the bridge between East St. Louis and St. Louis, known as the Eads bridge, was valued for taxation in Illinois at $3,500,000; that substantially the same amount of railroad traffic was carried over the two bridges, but the Eads bridge also carried wagon roads and street
There was no evidence of the cost of the Eads bridge. The bridge of the appellee had no market value, and there was evidence tending to show that other points in the neighborhood where it was built could be used for the construction of bridges, so that there was no value because of location. The appellee contends that the bridge had no value for taxation other than the cost of the structure minus its depreciation, while the People contend that it had a value as a going concern apart from the cost of construction. In Keokuk and Hamilton Bridge Co. v. People, 161 Ill. 514, we said: “The fair cash value of the bridge is not necessarily restricted to what would be the present cost of the material and labor that would be actually used in its construction if it were now being built. The bridge as a bridge,—as a completed structure,-as a property already in actual existence and in actual and profitable use,-has a value other than the total of the values of the earthwork, masonry, iron, timber, lumber and labor required in its construction. It is a property sui generis, has no market value, and is not affected by the principles of supply and demand; and evidence of what it did, in fact, cost to construct it, or opinions of what it would now cost to construct it, do not conclusively establish its real and actual value. (Bureau County v. Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad Co. 44 Ill. 229.) It is property the value of which is largely determined by its location, its surroundings and the use that can be and is made of it.”
While the bridge of the appellee might be replaced for $2,000,000, yet its location and its relations with other corporations are such that steam railroads entering St. Louis find it to their advantage to send a number of freight and passenger cars and a tonnage of freight over it substantially the same as over the Eads bridge. The St. Louis Merchants Bridge Terminal Railway Company was organized for the purpose of connecting with the west end of appellee's bridge and the Madison, Illinois and St. Louis Railway Company for the purpose of connecting with the east end, and the proposed connections were made. On August 1, 1893, the appellee leased all its property to the Madison, Illinois and St. Louis Railway Company for a period of forty years, for a consideration that the lessee should pay the annual interest charge of $120,000 upon its bond issue of $2,000,000, pay the taxes, keep the property in repair and pay to it three-fourths of the net income that should be derived from its use. All the stock of these three companies is owned by the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis, all of the stock of which is owned by fourteen trunk railways and all of the facilities of which are required by a decree of the United States court to be open upon equal terms to others desiring to use them. (United States v. Terminal Railroad Ass'n, 224 U. S. 383; 236 id. 194.) The appellee's bridge is operated on the basis of charges fixed to produce only the cost of operation, and therefore no earnings have accrued above the charges for interest, taxes and repairs. The investment in the bridge represents about four per cent of the total investment of the Terminal Railroad Association. While the appellee's property produces no income above its fixed charges for interest, taxes and repairs, yet that condition is brought about, not by the fact that the operation of the bridge is not profitable, but by the fact that the real beneficial owners of the bridge, the fourteen railways which own the stock of the Terminal Railroad Association, prefer not to charge any profit from the operation of the bridge for the benefit of the bridge company or any of the intervening corporations but to take
the benefit to themselves in the decreased cost of operation. The value of the service of the bridge is therefore divided among the fourteen railway systems constituting the Terminal Railroad Association, but the value of the property, based upon its earning capacity, is not for that reason diminished. As the bridge has no market value its earning power is an important element in determining its actual value. There is no evidence tending to show that the consideration for the lease is a fair value for the use of the bridge when it is purposely so used as to produce no income over and above the interest, taxes and repairs. During the year 1916 302,005 loaded freight cars were hauled over the appellee's bridge and 320,578 over the Eads bridge, and the appellee's bridge carried 7,477,672 tons of freight, while the Eads bridge, which is also owned by the Terminal Railroad Association, carried 6,977,874 tons. The total car movement over the Eads bridge and the appellee's bridge in that year amounted to 635,763 and 616,624 cars, respectively. Thus it appears that the Merchants bridge (the bridge of the appellee,) is as well adapted to the purpose of its owners as the Eads bridge, which is assessed in Illinois at $3,500,000.
Fraud cannot be presumed but must be proved by sufficient evidence. The mere fact of over-valuation will not establish it, but the valuation may be so excessive and made under such circumstances as to justify the conclusion that it was not honestly made and was known to be excessive. The assessor and the board of review had the right to take into consideration their own knowledge and the information acquired by their investigations and to compare the valuation of the bridge with the valuation of other property of the same character and to form an honest judgment as to the actual value of the bridge. The evidence here is not sufficient to show that the board of review acted fraudulently in the valuation of the appellee's property. ,
The principal objection to the capital stock tax of 1917 is that the assessment by the State Board of Equalization was fraudulent. There had been no such assessment prior to 1917. The full value of the tangible property of appellee was fixed by the local assessor in that year at $700,000. At a hearing before a joint meeting of the railroad and capital stock committees of the State Board of Equalization counsel for the appellee made a statement, which was accepted as evidence, that the authorized capital stock of the appellee was $2,000,000, of which $1,500,000 had been issued, which was owned by the St. Louis Merchants Bridge Terminal Railway Company, the capital stock of which was owned by the Terminal Railroad Association; that the appellee's capital stock had never passed for any valuable consideration, had never been sold upon the market, had no market value and no value in excess of the value of its tangible property. On November 28, 1917, the capital stock committee made its final report, in which the full value of the capital stock and franchise of the appellee was fixed at $4,600,000 and the assessed value at one-third of that amount, ($1,533,335,) and $933,335, the equalized value of the tangible property, being deducted, the assessment of the capital stock, including franchise of the appellee, was fixed at $600,000. Rule 25 of the board provided that the final reports of the committees on the assessment of railroad property and capital stock of corporations should “lie over two days for the inspection of the members of the board." When these reports were made a motion was adopted that rule 25 be suspended for the purpose of considering the reports of the railroad and capital stock committees, and thereupon the reports were adopted. The evidence in the record furnishes no sufficient basis for determining the actual earning capacity of the appellee's bridge. Though no dividends had ever been paid and none of the stock had ever been sold, the value of the service rendered to the railroad companies which owned the stock and the large amount of business handled may have been equivalent to the payment of substantial dividends. Upon what evidence the reports of the committees were based other than that offered by the appellee does not appear. It does not appear what investigation was made or what knowledge was possessed by the members of the board as to the property of the appellee and its value. They were not required to accept the valuation of the appellee. They had the right, and it was their duty, to ascertain and determine the value in such manner and by such means as were available, and it was not essential to the performance of this duty that they should hear evidence. They had a right to act upon their own knowledge and judgment and to use any available means of information. (Sterling Gas Co. v. Higby, 134 Ill. 557.) The ownership of the capital stock of the appellee and the manner in which its property was used by the beneficial owners were such that the fact that the stock had no market value, that no dividends were paid and that there were no earnings above interest, taxes and repairs, were by no means conclusive that the franchise of the corporation had not an actual, substantial value in excess of the value of its tangible property. The record does not show what was the net value of the service rendered by the bridge of the appellee to its owners if measured by the ordinary method of measuring the value of such service. In the absence of knowledge of such value it cannot be said that the value of the appellee's capital stock, including its franchise, did not exceed the value of its tangible property or that the value fixed by the State Board of Equalization was so excessive as necessarily to be fraudulent. We are bound to presume until the contrary is shown that the committee and the board acted upon sufficient information and that the facts were such as to justify the assessment.