The Madigan Mob and the property tax protection racket

The Madison County Record Oct. 20, 2015, 2:27pm


It's no different from the protection racket.

You know how the protection racket works. Some big ugly goon shows up at the front door one day and offers to protect you from some big ugly goon who might show up at the front door one day.

This second big ugly goon might rough you up a bit, he warns with mock concern, or trash your business or drive your customers away, but, if you're willing to pay for protection, the first big ugly goon will make sure that doesn't happen.

He can guarantee it, too, because the first big ugly goon who's worried about your safety and the second big ugly goon who might hurt you are the same person.

What Chicago Democrat Machine leaders Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan, Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, and Chicago Alderman Ed Burke do for Cook County residents saddled with excessive property tax assessments in some ways is basically the same.

They protect you from themselves.

As public officials, they're the big ugly goons who perpetuate a system in which numerous Chicago-area residents and businesses can be overcharged on their property taxes. As attorneys in private practice, they're the big ugly goons who offer to intervene, for a price, to see that those over-assessments are corrected.

Property owners who think the assessments are too high can request a reduction from the Machine-controlled Assessor's Office, appeal the valuation to the Machine-controlled Cook County Board of Review, or file a lawsuit. The law firms with which Madigan, Cullerton, and Burke are associated can and do handle a large number of these interventions, for a fee amounting to as much as 50 percent of the reduction obtained.

Madigan’s firm “saved” his clients roughly $10 million in tax assessments in the year ending April 2014, according to published reports.

Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Illinois legislature should put an end to it. They can start by banning elected officials from doing property tax appeals.

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