Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » Feds allege evidence of bribery ring at Cook County Board of Review
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Feds allege evidence of bribery ring at Cook County Board of Review

Tuesday, Jul 13, 2021

* Sun-Times

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.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - George - Tuesday, Jul 13, 21 @ 7:57 am:

    Say it ain’t so

  2. - PublicServant - Tuesday, Jul 13, 21 @ 8:10 am:

    Berrios was just the tip of the iceberg here. The real scammers are the property tax appeals lawyers that people feel they need to hire to get a break on their property taxes, and they’re quite successful at doing so. Which begs the question of why the easy decrease just for asking? How bout setting the right rate in the first place and making any reductions fee and far between. I mean I just fill out a lawyer form, no evidence of any issues provided, and, boom, my assessed value comes down? How can that be?

  3. - DuPage Saint - Tuesday, Jul 13, 21 @ 8:22 am:

    I am shocked

  4. - Anon E Moose - Tuesday, Jul 13, 21 @ 8:26 am:

    Just tell us what agencies are not corrupt

  5. - Excitable Boy - Tuesday, Jul 13, 21 @ 9:10 am:

    - certain colleagues had factored the cash into vacation plans as the recent Fourth of July holiday approached -

    The first rule of bribe club is you do not talk about bribe club.

  6. - Back to the Future - Tuesday, Jul 13, 21 @ 9:28 am:

    Thanks to the USDA and the Sun Times for highlighting another option we have in Cook County for getting our property taxes reduced.
    I was aware of the option to hire a politically connected lawyer who was either an elected member of the General Assembly, an Alderman and/or made political contributions and, of course, the option of giving up my indoor bathroom facilities to get a break on local taxes. I was not aware of this direct deal with public employees that appears to have been been available.
    By the way, the photo in the Sun Times of the employee holding up a handful of cash was priceless.
    Good reporting by the Sun Times reporters. Glad I have kept my subscription.

  7. - Bigtwich - Tuesday, Jul 13, 21 @ 9:40 am:

    The Sun Times thinks there is public confidence in Cook County’s property tax system?

    Bless their heart.

  8. - thisjustinagain - Tuesday, Jul 13, 21 @ 9:44 am:

    To Anon E Moose: Heh heh heh; that would be a short list in Crook County I fear. But agencies aren’t corrupt, people are. And we’ve got a lot of crooks in government being ferreted out by the feds, while our AG and State’s Attorney worry about wokeness. Good look for the Dems here too I might add; wonder how many names are involved.

  9. - Donnie Elgin - Tuesday, Jul 13, 21 @ 9:46 am:

    This is the worst type of corruption, it lines the pockets of political insiders while hurting the average property owner. Don’t forget that when the EAV of a property is reduced at the BOR that property owner will pay less in taxes individually. However, the overall levy required to be paid to Schools, city’s/villages, park districts, libraries… will be still be paid in full. The crooked reduction is simply made up by innocent poperty owners.

  10. - Big Mike - Tuesday, Jul 13, 21 @ 9:47 am:

    So what else is new? This IS Cook County at it’s finest (snark)

  11. - Laborflack - Tuesday, Jul 13, 21 @ 9:49 am:

    The only non-unionized office in county government

  12. - Hard D - Tuesday, Jul 13, 21 @ 10:04 am:

    Says employed since 95 so that should help figure out who it is by process of elimination

  13. - Donnie Elgin - Tuesday, Jul 13, 21 @ 10:10 am:

    “Says employed since 95″

    26 years of pension contributions - now at risk due to greed - so foolish

  14. - Al - Tuesday, Jul 13, 21 @ 10:23 am:

    I wish I could believe this is only a Cook County problem. Note: “Cook County” is capitalized as it is a proper noun.

  15. - Andersonville 75 - Tuesday, Jul 13, 21 @ 10:52 am:

    Another reason to get rid of this form of regressive tax in its entirety, and replace it with a local income tax that is simpler, fair and transparent.

  16. - Amalia - Tuesday, Jul 13, 21 @ 11:02 am:

    so if it is true that each of the board of review electeds get 30 hires, whose hire/s? what kind of supervision is done by the electeds?

  17. - Payback - Tuesday, Jul 13, 21 @ 11:05 am:

    This is totally believable. A friend who lived in Chicago city limits his entire life looked at every house on his block, and every city employee, cops, Streets and San (what we call garbagemen in Chicago) teacher, etc., had a lower real estate assessment than the rest of the taxpaying citizens.

    Where U.S. Attorney John Lausch is weak is that his office only looks at public corruption in Cook County and the Chicago area. Within the 15-16 counties in the Northern District of Illinois, many township assessors are now appointed, and handling five and ten or more townships within the county. This increases the opportunity for this type of corruption within the assessment process exponentially.

  18. - City Zen - Tuesday, Jul 13, 21 @ 11:13 am:

    ==alleged corruption could deal another blow to public confidence in Cook County’s property tax system==

    Desplaines Valley Mosquito Abatement District, you’re our last hope.

  19. - 1st Ward - Tuesday, Jul 13, 21 @ 11:28 am:

    I wonder if the FED’s finally figured this one out through Ed Burke’s Burger King indictment. It’s about time.

  20. - Sox 59 - Tuesday, Jul 13, 21 @ 11:28 am:

    It’s the end of “Casablanca” again and again

  21. - Miso - Tuesday, Jul 13, 21 @ 11:29 am:

    The only non-unionized office in county government

    That’s not accurate. Every prosecutor in the CCSAO is non-union. (The result of an adverse Illinois Supreme Court decision.)

  22. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jul 13, 21 @ 11:32 am:

    === It’s the end of “Casablanca” again and again===

    It’s the middle, actually.

    To the post,

    Never take the money. Never. Putting a price on the integrity you’re willing to lose along with your freedom, this is a cheap way to lose both.

    Stings, or tips to corruption, are important, not as a deterrent, but to what they actually are… capturing and then ending corruption existing.

    It’s nauseating

  23. - Ron Burgundy - Tuesday, Jul 13, 21 @ 11:35 am:

    Get the assessments right in the first place, and this cottage industry of appeals can be greatly reduced along with this Board and its staff. But no one in the system wants that.

  24. - Anon E Moose - Tuesday, Jul 13, 21 @ 11:36 am:

    “Every prosecutor in the CCSAO is non-union.”

    Same with the attorneys at the AG’s office.

  25. - thisjustinagain - Tuesday, Jul 13, 21 @ 11:41 am:

    To Ron Burgandy at 11:35 am: God forbid the Assessor actually gets it right. I had my value go up while other homes of same property class with garages go down. Assessor refused to lower the assessment; BOR lowered it for them on appeal after all 3 BOR analysts agreed I was over-assessed. Not my first rodeo with appeals either.

  26. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jul 13, 21 @ 11:45 am:

    “Round Up the Usual Suspects” was the book telling of “Casablanca” was basis, almost the title of the film too.

    Being “shocked” by corruption or gambling, that was in the middle.

    To wrap it in a bow, if it is deemed “usual”, that corruption is a norm, rounding up these folks isn’t a slight of hand to cover crimes, this is actually uncovering corruption and likely leading to arrests… of the culprits… not patsies as the “culprits” go free.

    This isn’t a speakeasy, or the glamour of (petty) crime (gambling) in war.

    I’m grateful when these investigations uncover criminality and not have stings fit the sake of merely having a sting to seem engaged.

    I’m also saddened to these types of things being fruitful.

  27. - IANAL - Tuesday, Jul 13, 21 @ 12:04 pm:

    There is a solution. Have the Board of Review be comprised of officials from 10 Cook County taxing districts who hire a professional to review appeals. That way, not elected and the office has a large incentive to only fix errors and not hand out reductions like candy.

  28. - Rudy’s teeth - Tuesday, Jul 13, 21 @ 12:11 pm:

    Since 1973, 30 City Council members were convicted of corruption in Chicago. Should anyone be surprised at the funny business/scams perpetrated by attorneys who reduce real estate taxes for their clients.

    Unfortunately, it’s business as usual. Where’s Eddie Burke?

  29. - Pizza Man - Tuesday, Jul 13, 21 @ 12:17 pm:

    So does this mean that we–Cook residents–don’t have to pay our property tax bill this year?

    just sayin’

  30. - 1st Ward - Tuesday, Jul 13, 21 @ 12:27 pm:

    “So does this mean that we–Cook residents–don’t have to pay our property tax bill this year”

    Karen Yarbrough doesn’t want to send out property tax bills over the senior exemption issues so they will certainly be delayed. Imagine this new nugget doesn’t help. Kaegi needs to start pushing State leaders and start a PR campaign.

  31. - James - Tuesday, Jul 13, 21 @ 12:37 pm:

    This happened at the Board of Review (then Board of Appeals) before, in 1981. Nearly 100 employees, lawyers and appellants implicated in a bribery scheme with many convictions. As before, lax management by elected officials.

  32. - @misterjayem - Tuesday, Jul 13, 21 @ 12:58 pm:

    If only they had been multi-millionaires giving campaign cash to alderbeings who’d then return the kindness by giving them a nice little TIF.

    Then it all would have been nice and legal.

    – MrJM

  33. - Chicagonk - Tuesday, Jul 13, 21 @ 2:03 pm:

    I’m sure Cabonargi and Rogers will get right on this and start investigating.

    The Democratic party in Chicago is going to get run over by the DSA if they keep treating government offices as personal piggybanks.

  34. - DuPage - Tuesday, Jul 13, 21 @ 2:43 pm:

    Cook county already has low taxes compared to the collar counties. On the other hand, Cook county areas in Chicago that have recently become violent, and businesses are openly shoplifted, have good reason to lower their assessment.

  35. - Yeesh - Tuesday, Jul 13, 21 @ 2:56 pm:

    — Kaegi needs to start pushing State leaders and start a PR campaign.—

    Yes because what’s missing here is Fritz being less camera shy. /s And what’s he supposed to ask state leaders to do? Urge people not to count a wad of 100s on video?

  36. - Dosseis - Tuesday, Jul 13, 21 @ 2:57 pm:

    ===The Democratic party in Chicago is going to get run over by the DSA===

    absolutely no, lol, no way

  37. - Chicagonk - Tuesday, Jul 13, 21 @ 3:19 pm:

    @Dosseis - I hope it’s not the case as I differ politically with the DSA, but don’t be surprised if they double the size of their caucus in 2023. My bet is 11 members in 2023.

  38. - Snarkie from Schaumburg - Tuesday, Jul 13, 21 @ 3:38 pm:

    Cook County has always had a casino, it is just called the Board of Review.

  39. - 1st Ward - Tuesday, Jul 13, 21 @ 3:46 pm:

    “And what’s he supposed to ask state leaders to do? Urge people not to count a wad of 100s on video?”

    He has been pushing Welch and other State legislatures on property tax valuation disclosure laws. Keep up.

  40. - 1st Ward - Tuesday, Jul 13, 21 @ 3:51 pm:

    “My bet is 11 members in 2023.”

    Oh wow. 11 members instead of 6. Need 26 to get anything done. There only shot to governing over the next 10 years is winning the Mayors office. But wait they keep trying to strip power away from the current Mayor. This group makes noise but can’t/won’t get much done. The group is best known for being quoted in the Sun Times/Block Club and that’s about it.

  41. - Dosseis - Tuesday, Jul 13, 21 @ 4:07 pm:

    ==double the size of their caucus==

    the ideologues can catch lightning in a bottle and get elected, but can they deliver for their constituents? The left in Chicago is competing with itself, and my observations say the majority of those hardliners are more occupied in broad issues, many of which pull them away from their wards. They might wish they knocked a few more doors in their wards come 2023.

  42. - Anyone Remember - Tuesday, Jul 13, 21 @ 4:14 pm:

    === … while our AG and State’s Attorney worry about wokeness.===

    Again … every time AG Lisa Madigan’s people started a corruption investigation into Blago, sooner or later the Feds asked them to stand down & get out of the way. And when she investigated the Quincy Veteran’s Home, didn’t she have “borrow” a grand jury? The IL AG is not designed to be a criminal prosecution agency. Pay attention.

  43. - Frumpy White Guy - Tuesday, Jul 13, 21 @ 5:40 pm:

    All of the Tax Board of Appeals Commissioners should resign immediately.

  44. - Amalia - Tuesday, Jul 13, 21 @ 8:18 pm:

    hmmm. wondering if Tammy Wendt found something out and after they–in effect—districted her out she dropped a dime.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Pritzker says state providing help on gun crimes, but "local police have to get their arms around this"
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition and a campaign roundup
* Sen. Crowe confirmed as US Attorney
* Rate Anna Valencia's first TV ad
* Open thread
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's stories

Visit our advertisers...








Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

May 2022
April 2022
March 2022
February 2022
January 2022
December 2021
November 2021
October 2021
September 2021
August 2021
July 2021
June 2021
May 2021
April 2021
March 2021
February 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0

Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller