Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » *** UPDATED x2 - Frerichs blasts Cross - Cross response: “Insider deal” *** IDOR reverses Frerichs decision
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*** UPDATED x2 - Frerichs blasts Cross - Cross response: “Insider deal” *** IDOR reverses Frerichs decision

Wednesday, Sep 24, 2014

* Buried deep within this AP feature on the state treasurer’s race is some actual news

Cross has accused Frerichs of financial mismanagement as county auditor, and highlighted a dispute over unpaid taxes for Frerichs’ legislative office.

Frerichs said the legislative office legally should not have been billed, but later did pay the $1,800 levy. However, on Monday the Illinois Department of Revenue reversed its earlier decision, and granted Frerichs an exemption.

The Illinois Department of Revenue was obviously wrong to claim Frerichs owed taxes when his district office rented space in a government building. That’s just a ridiculous contention. However, Frerichs brought the initial bad press upon himself by refusing to pay the tax debt, instead of just paying it while he was appealing.

And, don’t forget, he also owed taxes for a campaign office he rented in that same building. That one didn’t go away this week.

…Adding… I’m assuming that Tom Cross’ campaign is gonna question the convenient timing of this decision. While I still think this is the right decision - legislative offices are, after all, government offices - the timing is curious.

*** UPDATE 1 *** Statement from Kevin Artl, Campaign Manager for Tom Cross for Treasurer

“In typical Illinois fashion, Senator Mike Frerichs leveraged his clout with Governor Quinn and received an insider deal that allows him to avoid paying property taxes on his legislative office. After consistently claiming Frerichs and other lawmakers owed taxes on their offices, Quinn’s Department of Revenue has reversed that position a mere 40 days before the election.

“The decision allows Frerichs and at least one other lawmaker to avoid paying over $450,000 in unpaid property taxes. While Frerichs’ property taxes on his campaign office also went unpaid, the continued use of clout to secure patronage positions and now to avoid paying property taxes demonstrates why he would be a reckless State Treasurer.”

    The Frerichs Case
    Illinois Department of Revenue: “…consistently denied leasehold assessment exemptions…”
    Crain’s, August 8, 2014
    But according to Revenue Department spokeswoman Sue Hofer, the money is owed, which is why the department in June formally rejected Mr. Frerichs’ request for a non-homestead property tax exemption.
    “We have consistently denied leasehold assessment exemptions for legislative offices,” Ms. Hofer said, pointing to one “very similar case” a few years ago involving state Rep. Monique Davis, D-Chicago.
    Illinois Department of Revenue: Frerichs’ Exemption Denied Based On Longstanding Policy
    Crain’s, August 12, 2014
    The Illinois Department of Revenue earlier had rejected Mr. Frerichs’ request for an exemption, citing its ruling in a similar case several years ago involving state Rep. Monique Davis, D-Chicago.
    Champaign County Treasurer: Frerichs Offered Excuses, But No Payments
    Crain’s, August 8, 2014
    According to Amy Foster, senior administrative secretary for the treasurer, he has not paid bills for seven years, starting in 2008, and now owes a combined $1,814.17 in back taxes and interest. That amount is due and outstanding.
    Ms. Foster says she spoke repeatedly to Mr. Frerichs and aides through the years and on various times was given different explanations, including that the office was not subject to the leasehold tax and that an official waiver was being sought from the Illinois Department of Revenue.
    Frerichs Also Did Not Pay Property Tax Bill For Campaign Office-Claims It Was “Misplaced”
    Crain’s, August 12, 2014
    Mr. Frerichs also did not pay the tax on his political office, which is rented from the transit district, until questions were raised. His campaign said it believes that the bill for that tax inadvertently went to the legislative office, which didn’t pay it because it was believed to be part of the larger tax dispute.

    The Monique Davis Case:
    Illinois Department of Revenue: Davis Office Not Tax Exempt
    Chicago Sun-Times, June 11, 2012
    “CPS contended that as a leaseholder of publicly owned property, Davis is responsible for leaseholder taxes dating back at least 20 years and totaling $157,500, plus close to $287,000 in penalties for nonpayment.
    The Illinois Department of Revenue ruled back in 1998 that Davis’ use of the building for a district office did not make it tax-exempt.”
    Illinois House of Representatives Votes to Change Law On Lease Hold Agreements To Make Them Exempt from Taxes
    Chicago Sun-Times, June 11, 2012
    By a 60-54 vote, with Davis voting present, the House entered into the legal dispute between the longtime South Side lawmaker and the Chicago Board of Education over her refusal to pay back rent and leaseholder taxes on her district office, which is in a school-owned building.
    Note: The Legislation was not approved by the Senate.

    Legislation to Exempt Lawmakers from Paying Property Taxes Fails
    WTTW, January 29, 2013

    In the last legislative session, a bill passed the House that would have exempted Davis and all public officials from leaseholder taxes. It was sponsored by Madigan’s top lieutenant, Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie.

    Absent a resolution, the tab for past rent and taxes grows. Sullivan believes that the state of Illinois and Monique Davis now owes well over $1 million.

*** UPDATE 2 *** From the Frerichs campaign…

Tom Cross was at the heart of the insider deal with Rod Blagojevich, Tom Cross voted for $10 billion in borrowing that netted Cross ally Bob Kjellander $800,000, money that eventually flowed back to Tony Rezko’s circle of friends and was at the heart of Blagojevich’s corruption trial.

Only after the deal became public did Cross criticize Kjellander. And not for insider dealing, but for making the Republic Party look bad:

“It’s not healthy for us as we rebuild. It’s not healthy for our party,” Cross said. “He needs to make a decision whether to make lots of money or to represent our party. With the climate the way it is and the recent history of our party, he can’t do both.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Anon - Wednesday, Sep 24, 14 @ 9:52 am:

    And don’t forget, Cross had his own property tax misstep a few years ago on his personal property. Any attack by Cross on Frerichs for this seems super disingenuous.

  2. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 24, 14 @ 9:55 am:

    Bad campaigns and inept candidates make Dopey mistakes, especially when they could do the right thing and be vindicated by ignoring their own Hubris.

    @FakeMikeFrerichs - told you I was right. Now, if I can just go back in time and fix my Dopey way of handling it, I would be standing tall again. #ShrinkingToScrutinyThroughHubris

  3. - Angel's Sword - Wednesday, Sep 24, 14 @ 9:59 am:

    I consider this like the reverse of the Bustos pledge discussed earlier. Frerichs refused to pay since he honestly seemed to think he shouldn’t, and didn’t care how it looked. Is it wrong to say I kind of admire that?

  4. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Sep 24, 14 @ 9:59 am:

    Unfixed and still-current tax missteps, by a candidate during a campaign, is a preventable problem. Candidates with these issues are unprepared to be candidates, or be elected into public office.

  5. - Anon - Wednesday, Sep 24, 14 @ 10:03 am:

    Don’t really know what you mean by “convenient timing”

    Feels like it would have been more convenient if it was settled by the Senate Dems months ago.

  6. - Drew V - Wednesday, Sep 24, 14 @ 10:09 am:

    Was the ruling retroactive, or since he didn’t appeal for 7 years was the exemption only granted for 2013? If that is the case it absolves him of nothing since he didn’t pay taxes for 6 years when he should have.

  7. - Barney - Wednesday, Sep 24, 14 @ 10:33 am:

    is anyone really surprised that the 40 days before the election, after the Senate President called dept of Revenue, that Dept. of revenue reversed it’s longstanding policy. of course not. The big winner here…Monique Davis.

  8. - Amalia - Wednesday, Sep 24, 14 @ 10:42 am:

    the question of timing should be what took them so long.

  9. - Illinoise - Wednesday, Sep 24, 14 @ 11:17 am:

    Hmmm, this just makes me think he is “frugal” (cheap). I guess that could be a good thing when running for treasurer…

  10. - Illinoise - Wednesday, Sep 24, 14 @ 11:31 am:

    Although I still think he could have handled it better. Much better.

  11. - Tom Joad - Wednesday, Sep 24, 14 @ 11:32 am:

    “is anyone really surprised that the 40 days before the election, after the Senate President called dept of Revenue, that Dept. of revenue reversed it’s longstanding policy. of course not.” The Revenue Department is staffed mostly by employees appointed by Governors Thompson, Edgar and Ryan. Mostly Republicans. You shouldn’t be surprised by one of them interpreted the law in favor of a Republican. Are you surprised by this Barney.

  12. - Barney - Wednesday, Sep 24, 14 @ 12:11 pm:

    this just boomeranged badly for Frerichs. he still gets dinged for not paying taxes and now he’s got to defend some rather apparent political shenanigans.

  13. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Sep 24, 14 @ 12:25 pm:

    -The Revenue Department is staffed mostly by employees appointed by Governors Thompson, Edgar and Ryan. Mostly Republicans. You shouldn’t be surprised by one of them interpreted the law in favor of a Republican. Are you surprised by this Barney. -

    IDOR Director Hamer is a Blago appointee from Chicago Revenue. His Chief of Staff Lainie Krozel is daughter-in-law of Chris Kelly, Blogo fund raiser and advisor. Remember him? Most Divisions and Bureaus headed by Blago/Quinn people. Administrative law judges don’t get their jobs because they know the tax laws.

  14. - Ducky LaMoore - Wednesday, Sep 24, 14 @ 1:09 pm:

    @Tom Cross
    You can basically say nothing and win this election. But if you insist on blathering, try not to look like a crybaby… and keep it pithy. Good luck.

  15. - Carl Nyberg - Wednesday, Sep 24, 14 @ 1:30 pm:

    Can someone explain the 1998 Illinois Department of Revenue ruling that legislators are personally liable for taxes on their district offices?

    Cops can beat people. Politicians can illegally fire people. And the taxpayers pay the bill.

    But somehow legislators are responsible for the taxes on their district offices when leasing from a public entity that doesn’t pay taxes?

    Huh? How does this remotely make sense?

  16. - Carl Nyberg - Wednesday, Sep 24, 14 @ 1:32 pm:

    If legislators are paying property taxes on their offices like they were private businesses then they should be able to do political work in these offices.

    Is it Tom Cross’ position that legislators should treat their district offices as personal spaces where partisan political activity is allowed?

  17. - LincolnLounger - Wednesday, Sep 24, 14 @ 1:55 pm:

    Is this stuff getting play anywhere? I can’t imagine.

  18. - Easy - Wednesday, Sep 24, 14 @ 1:56 pm:

    yowzers. Team Frerichs going off deep end with another unhinged rant.

  19. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Sep 24, 14 @ 2:07 pm:

    @Easy -

    Artl once again raises the question:

    “Is Tom Cross paying his staff by the word?”

  20. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Sep 24, 14 @ 2:33 pm:

    – Statement from Kevin Artl, Campaign Manager for Tom Cross for Treasurer–

    That’s not a statement, it’s a thesis.

    The goals of statements are to be read and then picked up by media.

  21. - Fred s - Wednesday, Sep 24, 14 @ 2:43 pm:

    Rich you need to change the headline. It should read “Frerichs campaign still looking for proofreader.”

  22. - Easy - Wednesday, Sep 24, 14 @ 2:50 pm:

    @ydd. I actually agree with you. He’s way too wordy.

  23. - A guy... - Wednesday, Sep 24, 14 @ 3:13 pm:

    Anyone paying attention to this race anymore?

  24. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Sep 24, 14 @ 3:31 pm:


    I believe, technically speaking, that a ‘thesis’ is supposed to have a central point.

    Although I do appreciate the irony of Team Cross citing The legal expertise of the Quinn administration while simultaneously accusing them of illegal activity.

    Show of hands anyone who believes that state property is subject to local property taxes?

    Where in the world did Cross get his law degree? Paducah?

  25. - Homer - Wednesday, Sep 24, 14 @ 4:12 pm:

    Was that a typo, or are we now going to call it the “Republic Party” now?
    I hope it’s the latter — GOPers love to talk about the “Democrat” Party, which is both incorrect and meant (somehow) to be insulting. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, I guess?

  26. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Sep 24, 14 @ 4:39 pm:

    – but for making the Republic Party–

    Really? For once the Frerich’s team comes up with a good zinger. but wreck it by sinking to the knuckle-draggers’ level?

    Keep this mind: if it’s stupid when the other guys do it, it’s stupid when you do it.

  27. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Sep 24, 14 @ 7:38 pm:


    We entered the psych-ops phase of the election back in August.

    Soon, Frerichs will be going door-to-door in Plainfield and Cross in Urbana.

    As for the hit itself, probably less than 1 in 10,000 have heard of him, but he is a dog whistle for the Kass and some others, so it was nice to invite him to the party.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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