Blogs from October, 2010

Cook County Board of Review Sued for Abuse of Process along with Fox Television Holdings, Inc., and Rupert Murdoch's New Corp.

Why are property tax bills in Chicago going up as home values decline up to 40%? Hotel owners say it is because Cook County Board of Review does not apply a consistent standard in granting real estate tax appeals-as Illinois statute requires it do. Federal lawsuit filed today against The Cook County Board of Review and Defendant Commissioners Larry R. Rogers, Jr., (who is considering running for Mayor), Brendan Houlihan (who is running for re-election) and Joseph Berrios (running for Cook County Assessor), charges that the Board abuses its office and official process because in actuality the emperor has no clothes-the Board has no set standards for making tax appeal decisions for property owners in Cook County-in violation of the Equal Protection clause of the United States Constitution and Illinois law.

Plaintiffs' lead attorney, R. Tamara de Silva commented that, "No government entity should be allowed to act capriciously and in a manner that is above the law. The adjudication of property tax appeals is a vital government function with a huge impact not only on interstate commerce but to the lives of hard working Chicagoans and we have allowed it to be hijacked for politics and self-dealing to the detriment of every property owner in Cook County."

According to complaint, Commissioners unlawfully singled out the Plaintiffs' property because of the Plaintiffs' political associations stating simply, "we can do anything we want." Commissioners are further accused of using the Cook County Board of Review to intimidate and harass property owners, "in apparent homage to Torquemada."

Federal suit also names Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, Fox Television Holdings, Inc. and its employees and supervisors for engaging in McCarthy-esq fabrication of innuendo about private citizens. According to Ms. de Silva, "This is nothing less than a battle for accountability. The major networks assume that no one will fight back because of the David and Goliath nature of suing the media in the age of sensationalized tabloid 'journalism.' Lives and reputations built over lifetimes are ruined in minutes and seconds-unchecked and undeterred by the truth. This is closer to pornography than journalism. "