Suffredin- Changing County Government  
 

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.

   
  Cook County was created on January 15, 1831 and named after Daniel P. Cook, Member of Congress and the first Attorney from the State of Illinois.
   
     
     
     



Cook County forest district poised to regain 400-acre Barrington Hills farm, but foreclosed owners hope hemp crop can bail them out

Monday, June 24, 2019
Chicago Tribune
by Robert McCoppin

A rider uses the ring at Horizon Farm in Barrington Hills in 2016. The Cook County Forest Preserve District bought the land in 2013 after it fell into foreclosure, briefly opening it as a preserve before facing litigation from the foreclosed owners. It's expected to become a preserve again after a new court ruling. (Stacey Wescott / Chicago Tribune)

One of the largest pieces of open land available in Cook County, a 400-acre horse farm in Barrington Hills, is expected to become a forest preserve again, after a court ruling granting foreclosure of the property.

That is, unless a plan to grow cannabis on the site interferes with the process.

Horizon Farm, consisting mostly of rolling pasture along Algonquin Road west of Illinois Route 59, has been in litigation since shortly after a private sale in 2006. Richard Cannon and his wife, Meryl Squires Cannon, borrowed $14.5 million from Amcore Bank to buy the land.

After the property fell into foreclosure once before, the Forest Preserve District of Cook County bought the farm for $14 million in 2013, and briefly opened it as a preserve, but the Cannons fought in court to keep the land.

In her ruling Friday, Cook County Judge Margaret Ann Brennan ripped the Cannons for litigating rather than paying their debt.

“To this day, the Cannons have not re-paid so much as a cent of that $14.5 million,” the judge wrote. “Despite the Cannons’ contention that Amcore misrepresented the terms of the agreement ... the Court did not find the Cannons’ testimony to be worthy of the Court’s trust or belief.”

Richard Cannon said the couple will appeal the ruling. In the meantime, he said, the entity they formed to hold the property has filed for bankruptcy, and is growing hemp there as a proposed way to pay their creditors.

“We’re hoping the court will give us a couple of months to prove we can pay things off,” he said.

The state just legalized hemp and began licensing its general production effective this year. Hemp comes from the same cannabis plant as marijuana, but has negligible THC, the part of pot that gets users high. Instead, it can be used to make fiber or the recently popular CBD oil.

But the Cannons’ legal opponents, including Chris Carmichael, attorney for the forest preserve, say hemp production is just another last-ditch gambit to avoid giving up the property or paying the debt.

Robert McGinley, a member of the family that sold the property and provided a loan for the Cannons to buy it, said he felt vindicated by the ruling. The judge noted that the family could have taken the Cannons’ $2 million in earnest money, but chose to lend them money to close the deal.

“The Cannons repaid that kindness with over a decade of litigation,” Brennan wrote.

In an email, McGinley commented, “For 12 years they have remained on the property and have never paid the loans or property taxes on it. That should tell you something right there. … There was no talk of any problems with the deal until they defaulted on the loan a few years later.”

The Forest Preserve District of Cook County issued a statement welcoming the ruling. A foreclosure auction for the property was set for July 29, at which point any buyer would have to outbid the district. Officials expect to take possession of the site before the end of the summer, which would be its largest new property since 1968.

The site includes meadows, wetlands and small streams, and open habitat for grassland birds. After reassessing the site, where farm buildings have fallen into disrepair, the district plans to reopen it for hiking, biking and horseback riding. Officials called this a “unique opportunity” to protect a rare plot of open land.



Recent Headlines

Cook County forest preserve picnic, camping permits for 2020 season to go on sale Nov. 15
Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Chicago’s public defender plans to ask Illinois Supreme Court to reverse decision that permits holding preteens in custody despite county ordinance
Monday, November 11, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Clerk Yarbrough touts ‘method to her madness,’ says hiring criticism ‘is purely personal’
Saturday, November 09, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Nonprofit hospitals forced to defend hundreds of millions in property tax breaks
Friday, November 08, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County Land Bank must serve neighborhoods, not City Hall insiders
Friday, November 08, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

After judge’s dismissal, Skokie appeals federal lawsuit over Evanston water rates
Friday, November 08, 2019
Chicago Tribune

2 teens in DCFS care were shackled and handcuffed during drive from a youth shelter: ‘Totally unacceptable,’ agency says
Friday, November 08, 2019
Chicago Tribune

The lifelong damage we do in Cook County when we jail kids as young as 10
Thursday, November 07, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Unfair assessments lawsuit dismissed after assessor makes changes — full reform called a ‘years-long process’
Thursday, November 07, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Editorial: Watch out, Cook County land bank. The public could foreclose — on you.
Thursday, November 07, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Niles raises property tax about $21 per average household
Wednesday, November 06, 2019
Pioneer Press

Nov. 15 is Opening Day for Forest Preserves of Cook County Picnic and Special Event Permit Sales, 2020 Camping Reservations
Wednesday, November 06, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

$8M grant program aims to expand Cook County animal shelter space
Tuesday, November 05, 2019
ABC EyeWitness News

Even as Illinois court permits detaining pre-teens, across U.S. fewer youth being held
Monday, November 04, 2019
Injustice Watch

Cook County OK’d insider deal for Ald. Carrie Austin’s top aide
Monday, November 04, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

A progressive measure intended to keep preteens out of Cook County jails was effectively struck down by an appellate court
Monday, November 04, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Health CEO Calls on Other Hospitals to Increase Charity Care
Friday, November 01, 2019
WTTW News

Labrador retriever sworn in at Cook County state’s attorney’s office. Yes, really.
Thursday, October 31, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County sheriff wants chief judge to take over electronic monitoring of suspects, citing the records of those released
Thursday, October 31, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Illinois appellate court rejects ordinance banning detention of 10-12 year olds
Wednesday, October 30, 2019
Injustice Watch

all news items

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