The FBI has been investigating a Cook County Board of Review employee who allegedly used his position to lower property assessments in exchange for thousands of dollars in cash bribes, according to a federal court affidavit obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.
That employee also said the money would be split with others in the office, insisting that, “I’m just the middle guy” and that certain colleagues had factored the cash into vacation plans as the recent Fourth of July holiday approached, according to the 45-page document.
The federal probe dates to at least January 2019 and involves an unnamed individual who was secretly cooperating with the feds and is separately under criminal investigation, according to the affidavit. The Sun-Times is not naming the Board of Review employee at the center of the probe because records show he has not been criminally charged. He could not be reached Monday for comment.
The revelation of alleged corruption could deal another blow to public confidence in Cook County’s property tax system, just as tax bills are supposed to be hitting mailboxes. The bills already might be delayed because of “major errors” the Sun-Times exposed in a $250 million-a-year program that offers a tax break to certain seniors.