A prominent businessman and property owner filed a Federal lawsuit today against The Cook County Board of Review and Defendant Commissioner Larry R. Rogers, Jr., among others, charging that the tax appeal body abuses its office and official process in the adjudication of tax appeals in Cook County. Lawsuit states that in this businessman's case, the tax body arbitrarily rescinded a tax break they had themselves granted less than one year prior because he was suspected of associating with an unpopular Illinois State Representative-in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution.
Specific defendants according to the Federal complaint use the County entity for the institutionalization of a system of pay for play. Commissioners and their staff solicit large campaign contributions from the very same attorneys whose livelihoods depend on their rulings and employ their public office for, "breathtakingly unabashed self-dealing, capriciousness and corruption," as opposed to utilizing a consistent basis "for the adjudication of tax appeal claims."
Plaintiff's lead attorney, R. Tamara de Silva commented that, "No government entity should be allowed to trample upon the property rights of private citizens. Property tax appeals should be adjudicated on their merits, not bartered on bribery or political influence. The levying of property taxes and the adjudication of tax appeals is of vital importance to the operation of the City of Chicago, and the County of Cook. Chicago cannot afford to continue having graft and self-dealing as the set currency in this important office. What has happened in this case should be extremely frightening to each and every property owner in Cook County. We simply cannot continue to allow local branches of Illinois or County government to require that the people of Illinois check their Constitutional rights at the door upon entering."
According to another source familiar with the filing, this lawsuit, on the heels of a similar one filed by Schaumburg hotel owners may provoke a tide of similar suits from Cook County property owners against an office that has historically been known for corruption and pure pay for play.