Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
  The Cook County Forest Preserve District maintains over 70 miles of bicycle trails.
   
     
     
     



Assessor’s office looking into improper exemptions

Monday, September 17, 2012
Chicago Sun-Times
by PATRICK REHKAMP

The Cook County assessor’s office — the government agency that helps determine how much home and business owners pay in property taxes — has launched an internal audit after finding an employee may have improperly capitalized on a perk designed to ease the tax burden on senior citizens, the office said.


The agency offers seven “exemptions” for property owners in Chicago and the county’s suburbs. If property owners meet certain criteria they can catch a break on how much they pay in property taxes.

One exemption provides homeowners 65 years old and older with a reduction, which varies in size based on a variety of factors relating to their property.

The Better Government Association has found the Oak Forest home of a longtime assessor employee named Janice Szabo has received a “senior exemption” totaling more than $2,200 in reduced property taxes from 2006 and 2011.

The problem: Szabo is 60 and her husband, who also holds title to the home, is 61.

When the BGA asked the assessor’s office about the exemption, it was told the office had already been told of it — and determined Szabo did not deserve the exemption, said Kelley Quinn, spokeswoman for Assessor Joe Berrios.

Szabo was disciplined and the assessor’s office is now conducting a review of all of its approximately 350 employees to ensure any exemptions on their homes are appropriate and that nobody gamed the system, Quinn said.

Meantime, Szabo has been “asked to repay the money saved through the Senior Exemption,” Quinn said. “We are currently conducting an officewide audit pertaining to all employees’ residential exemptions.”

Szabo, a 14-year employee who works as a liaison to township assessors, says her elderly mother lives in the Oak Forest home, is on the deed and filed for the exemptions.

“My mother lives with us,” Szabo said. “She’s been with us for 25 years. She’s 90 years old.”

However, neither the assessor nor the BGA could find evidence that the mother was an owner of the property, which carries an annual tax bill of roughly $13,500. Szabo declined to provide documentation to the BGA. Her mother, Gwen Basile, could not be reached for comment.

Basile and Szabo have since paid the county back for the senior exemptions, which amounted to more than $300 a year from 2006 through 2011, according to the Cook County treasurer’s office, which collects tax payments.

To apply for a senior citizen exemption through the assessor’s office, applicants must fill out an application and show ID. No ownership documents are required, and there are only spot checks to determine whether the recipient is the property holder.

In Szabo’s case, Basile was the applicant, according to documents obtained from the assessor under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.

Quinn would not say how Szabo was disciplined, citing privacy concerns. But she was not fired.



Recent Headlines

Measles Exposure Reported in Chicago
Monday, May 20, 2019
WTTW News

News from the Cook County Health System
Friday, May 17, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Cook County Health Recognizes Mental Health Awareness Month
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Daily Herald

Skokie plans for road improvements near Edens Expressway: 'It’s desperately needed'
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Skokie Review

5 Chicago hospitals earn D grades for patient safety in new report, Northwestern slips to a B
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Chicago Daily Law Bulletin: Backward Glances
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Cook County Eliminated Its Gang Database, But Advocates Say Harm Continues
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
WBEZ News

New Cook County Housing Authority Proposal Targets the 'Missing Middle'
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Evanston RoundTable

Census Citizenship Question Could Hurt Citizens, Noncitizens Alike
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

News from Friends of the Forest Preserves
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Cook County commissioners get earful about soon-to-be-destroyed gang database
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Detainee dies days after suicide attempt at Cook County jail
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Curious City How Chicago Women Created The World’s First Juvenile Justice System
Monday, May 13, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

Cook County report: Sharp drop in jail population, but crime did not jump
Friday, May 10, 2019
Injustice Watch

Will Cook County be home to the next big measles outbreak? Researchers think so.
Friday, May 10, 2019
Chicago Tribune

May is Prime Time for Birding in the Forest Preserves of Cook County
Thursday, May 09, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

More Babies Are Illegally Abandoned Than Turned Over Through Illinois’ Safe Haven Law In Cook County
Thursday, May 09, 2019
CBS Chicago

Empty businesses may lose county tax incentives
Wednesday, May 08, 2019
Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle

As new DCFS report highlights failures, Cook County guardian says 'inept' child welfare agency is ‘not doing its job ... at every level’
Tuesday, May 07, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County passes bill to stop discrimination against tenant applicants
Tuesday, May 07, 2019
Chicago Crusader

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP