The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments on June 4, 2013 in two benchmark cases (12-3116 & 12-2848) that challenge the grant of immunity given the members and staff of the Cook County Board of Review and alleges the Board has engaged in bribery, extortion and pay-to-play in the adjudication of County property tax appeals.
The first appeal seeks to overturn a grant of quasi-legal immunity that was given to the individual Board of Review Commissioners and staff. The County Board of Review has filed a cross-appeal in the same case, which is also being heard appealing a prior victory denying absolute immunity in the suit at the District level to the Cook County Board of Review.
Attorney R. Tamara de Silva argues that neither the Commissioners of the Cook County Board of Review or the tax appeal body itself deserve any immunity because there are no safeguards against corruption nor checks on the entities processes. The civil case is of consequence to every property owner in Cook County and Chicago. Business owners filed a Federal lawsuit against the Cook County Board of Review and its three Commissioners and staff including Larry R. Rogers, Jr. and current Assessor Joseph Berrios for arbitrarily singling them out for tax increases because of a media attention and investigation by the Cook County State's Attorneys' Office.
The lawsuit charges that the Defendants, (Board of Review Commissioners and staff) use the tax appeal body for "unabashed self-dealing, capriciousness and corruption,"by trading campaign contributions to the Commissioners and their staff in exchange for tax reductions-as opposed to utilizing a set method "for the adjudication of tax appeal claims."