Team

James D. Donnelly, SRA
President

James D. DonnellyJames D. Donnelly brings over thirty five years of local real estate appraisal experience to the clients of J. Lee Donnelly & Son. His expertise includes the valuation of upper bracket, complex and unique residential assignments – properties where an expert in residential valuations is necessary. Because many, if not all assignments have litigation potential, a detailed appraisal report is of utmost importance.

Mr. Donnelly has earned the prestigious SRA designation from the Appraisal Institute (AI) and is a member in good standing. He has served on numerous committees for both the Appraisal Institute and the former Washington DC Association of Realtors. Additionally, he is a certified residential appraiser in Washington DC, the State of Maryland and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Mr. Donnelly has been involved in some of the most difficult and complex appraisal residential assignments in the metro DC area. He was the expert appraiser who testified in the United States Tax Court on behalf of the petitioner– a precedent setting case in the valuation of historic preservation easements.

Joseph Donnelly, MAI

Joseph DonnellyJoseph Donnelly joined J. Lee Donnelly & Son in the early 1970s. Joe Donnelly is currently the chief commercial appraiser for the company. His expertise is in appraising income producing properties, including apartment buildings, office buildings and shopping centers. Mr. Donnelly has also appraised many special purpose facilities which would include schools and higher education facilities, religious facilities, embassies and chanceries. Mr. Donnelly is well-known in the DC Metro area, having provided valuations for Georgetown, George Mason and Catholic Universities.

Other areas of expertise include vacant commercial and industrial land as well as planned residential subdivisions and communities. Mr. Donnelly appraises properties in the DC, MD and VA area. And he is often called as an expert witness by the courts of DC, MD and VA.

Joe Donnelly has served on the Board of Directors of American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers (Washington DC Chapter), and he is a former Director of the Washington Board of Realtors.

Sarah Watkins, SRA

Sarah WatkinsSarah Watkins, also known as Sally, has been a long-term resident of our area. She grew up in the 1950s in Kensington, and has lived in Montgomery Village, Westmoreland Hills, and Chevy Chase Village in Montgomery County. Ms. Watkins now lives in the iconic, mid-century modern neighborhood of Hollin Hills in Alexandria, VA. As a result, she has a broad knowledge of the MD/VA/DC area.

Ms. Watkins began appraising in 1989 after a career as a paralegal. She joined J. Lee Donnelly & Son, Inc. in 1992.

Ms. Watkins is a professional appraiser with the SRA designation, which was earned from the Appraisal Institute in 2011. Ms. Watkins brings additional expertise to J. Lee Donnelly. She recently completed courses in appraising green residential buildings. She earned a certificate in landscape design from George Washington University. She has real-life experience as a manager for a mixed-use commercial building in Old Town. And, Ms. Watkins has a keen interest in architecture and design, bringing added dimension to her appraisal knowledge.

Ms. Watkins has extensive knowledge of the historic neighborhoods and residences of DC. Her specialization is in select, upper bracket properties throughout the DC Metropolitan Area.

Asked about her career, Ms. Watkins replied, “I am careful, thoughtful, and some might say compulsive about my job. I love what I do. Every property is different and each client brings a new story or insight that makes me better qualified for the job I do.”

Nicholas S. Chaconas, Certified Appraiser

Nicholas S. ChaconasNicholas S. Chaconas graduated in 1982 from the University of Maryland with a major in economics and has been appraising full time in the DC area since 1986. Mr. Chaconas is a multi-generation Washingtonian with family roots dating back over 100 years and has spent his entire life and career locally. His professional and real estate experience includes: business brokerage, commercial leasing,appraising, consulting as well as buying, selling, managing and renovating a small portfolio of single family and multi-family properties in the D.C. area. Mr. Chaconas also participated financially in a 17 unit condominium conversion located in a DC historic neighborhood.

Mr. Chaconas is a qualified expert witness and has conducted numerous appraisal assignments regarding: rental apartments (2 units to over 300 units), single and multi-tenant commercial properties, land (single lots and subdivision), mixed use properties, HUD rent comparability studies, single family market value (retrospective, current and prospective) appraisals and condominium conversions. The purposes of these assignments include but are not limited to: selling or buying decisions, partnership disputes/dissolution, appraisals for estate planning, estate IRS tax purposes, planned development feasibility analysis, assessment appeals, divorce, highest and best use determination and for lending purposes.

Mr. Chaconas currently lives in Olney, Maryland with his wife of over 25 years. His two children both graduated from Good Counsel High School and currently attend out of state colleges.

According to Mr. Chaconas, “I have been employed with J. Lee Donnelly & Son for over 20 years. The history, knowledge, experience, reputation and area industry contacts within this firm cannot be matched by any other firm in the area. In the unthinkable event that I were to leave this area and wish to remain working, I would make it a priority to seek a firm comparable to J. Lee Donnelly & Son.“

Jill K. Rothman, Certified Residential Appraiser

Jill K. RothmanJill Rothman has been an appraiser with J. Lee Donnelly since 2000. She is a Certified Residential Appraiser in Maryland and a licensed residential appraiser in DC. Ms. Rothman’s specialty is in appraising real estate property in DC and Montgomery County in MD.

A third generation native Washingtonian, Ms. Rothman grew up on Silver Spring, MD and went to Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring. Her educational background is in Communications, having earned a B.S. degree from Ithaca College. She also studied at George Washington University in DC in the Legal Assistant program.

Ms. Rothman likes the variety of work she gets as an appraiser. “Every assignment is different,” she says. “Actually, I find that every home is as unique as the people you meet who occupy the home.”

Thomas C. Horvath, Certified Appraiser

Thomas Horvath graduated from Villanova University in Philadelphia, where he earned Bachelor and Graduate degrees in Business Administration. Mr. Horvath has been an appraiser with J. Lee Donnelly & Son since January 1979.

Thomas Horvath is not only a certified appraiser, but is knowledgeable in several related areas, having taken special courses on topics such as: Principles and Practices of Urban Planning, Real Estate Zoning Principles and Practices, and Investing in Real Estate.

Mr. Horvath has rendered appraisals for many key corporations throughout our area. These include:

  • The Carey Winston Company, Bethesda, MD
  • Catholic Diocese of Arlington, Arlington , VA
  • The City of Laurel, MD
  • General Motors Corporation, Arlington, VA
  • The IBM Corporation, Washington, DC
  • NASA Federal Credit Union, Greenbelt, MD

John C. Donnelly

John C. DonnellyJohn C. Donnelly, MAI, of Counsel to J. Lee Donnelly & Son, has served the Metropolitan Washington, D.C. community for more than 40 years specializing in commercial real estate appraisals, counseling, and investments. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from Georgetown University in 1973 where he has also taught Commercial Real Estate Valuation & Appraisal Practice. He is qualified as an Expert in Real Estate in U.S. Tax Court, U.S. District Court, and the Superior Court of the District of Columbia as well as the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Columbia, and Bankruptcy Courts in Maryland and Virginia. Mr. Donnelly is further recognized as an expert in Real Property Tax Appeal Matters appearing frequently at Assessment and Appeal Boards in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.

Szilvia Balazs, Office Manager

Szilvia MongelosSzilvia Mongelos was born and raised in Hungary and speaks three languages, Hungarian, Spanish and English. She is the office manager for J. Lee Donnelly and has been with the company for seven (7) years. Ms. Mongelos holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing and advertising and has taken courses in communication and technology. She worked as a realtor and rental agent with Long and Foster, Inc. in DC and MD. Ms. Mongelos also serves as a notary.