Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Campaign Donor Benefits From Tax Boo-Boo?

An informed reader writes in:
I tried to get the assessor to correct this a few years back and apparently they didn't.

4231 N. Kenmore is an 8 unit approximately 11 year old apartment building. Just north and next door is an identical building owned and built by the same owner.

The address next door is 4237.

4231 is listed as an apartment building by the assessor and pays the appropriate taxes. 4237 is listed as a vacant lot.

4231 PIN Number 14-17-403-016-0000

4237 PIN Number 14-17-403-015-0000

If you check out the pictures of the properties here and here, you will see that there is no vacant lot.

From the Treasurer site you can find the taxes:

Now 4231 pays about $20,600 in taxes a year.

4237 pays about $8500

If you go to the Campaign Disclosure/Contribution site and type in Gibbons Management you will find many fine contributions to Shiller and Tunney. Perhaps Hugh is bored and will look to see if Gibbons made other donations through his various extensive property holdings.


  1. I dunno if Hugh is bored, but I am.

    Here is a list of some Gibbons Management donations:

    The very interesting one is the last one for "Houlihan". That is the "Houlihan" who is on the County Board of (tax) Appeals and was supported by Assessor Houlihan(no relation). Assessor Houlihan's office assesses all property in Cook County.

    Very interesting........

    Your search found 9 receipts totaling $5,700.00
    Contributed By Amount Received By Description
    Gibbons Construction 867 West Buckingham
    Chicago, IL 60657 $1,000.00
    1/14/2000 Individual Contribution
    Hansen For Alderman Committee
    Gibbons Construction LLC 867 W. Buckingham
    Chicago, IL 60657 $500.00
    3/24/2006 Individual Contribution
    Citizens for Claypool
    Gibbons Construction LLC 867 W. Buckingham
    Chicago, IL 60657 $200.00
    2/20/2003 Individual Contribution
    Citizens for Jesse Granato
    Gibbons Construction LLC 867 West Buckingham
    Chicago, IL 60657 $750.00
    10/12/2001 Individual Contribution
    44th Ward Regular Democratic Org
    Gibbons Construction LLC 867 W Buckingham
    Chicago, IL 60657 $1,000.00
    2/7/2003 Individual Contribution
    Committee to Elect Matlak
    Gibbons Construction LLC 867 West Buckingham
    Chicago, IL 60657 $750.00
    10/23/2002 Individual Contribution
    44th Ward Regular Democratic Org
    Gibbons Management 867 W Buckingham
    Chicago, IL 60657 $500.00
    6/15/2005 Individual Contribution
    Citizens for Shiller
    Gibbons Properties Management 867 W. Buckingham
    Chicago, IL 60657 $700.00
    8/18/2006 Individual Contribution
    Matlak 2007 Campaign
    Gibbons Properties Management 867 W Buckingham
    Chicago, IL 60657 $300.00
    12/28/2007 Individual Contribution
    Taxpayers for Houlihan

  2. Gibbons Management has a website here:

    Gibbons Management site

    Perhaps we can call Mr Gibbons and let him know we would appreciate it if he corrected this "mistake". I'm sure he hasn't noticed it for the last decade or so. The buildings were built around 97-98.

    Gibbons Management
    867 W. Buckingham Place
    Lower Level
    Chicago, IL 60657
    Fax 773/477-9485

  3. Um...so...not paying the appropriate amount of taxes on a building for 10 years pretty much steals money out of community funds which are used for things like local public schools and libraries, etc., right?

    Does this person hate poor children?!!! If those kids don't get an education in Uptown's public schools, where will they get that education???

    I don't know if this property is in the TIF district but if it is, then he is also withholding funds that should be going toward the affordable housing in WY and the badly needed parking garage for the Truman College students who are trying to make a better life for themselves. Why is this person cheating the neediest members of society???? Why are we letting him?

  4. whoa, that's a really blatant one you got there

    the assessor's own pictures AND the overhead view on their maps clearly show 2 bldgs


    4237 is classified as 1-00 "Vacant Land"


    4231 is classified as 3-14 "Two or three story non-fireproof building with corridor apartment or California type apartments, no corridors exterior entrance"

    that seems like an abuse

    the photos sure look like the bldgs have an exterior entrance to a interior corridor to me

    Gibbons has a real good property tax atty, forget correcting the "mistake", we should call & ask him who he uses!

  5. Even you aren't up for a fight, Hugh? Surely there must be some recourse that the taxpayers of the City and State have in order to enforce the proper payment of property taxes? I know people tend to use attorneys to shave off $$ but ten years of paying taxes on a vacant lot? Couldn't a lien or something be brought against it so that if he ever wants to sell he has to pay back taxes? I mean really nice & hardworking people in this city are losing their homes for not being able to keep up with their property taxes. Is there ANY justice in Uptown? I thought this place was all about sticking it to the rich guy??

  6. vacant land is assessed @ 22% of "market" value

    the assessment rate for multi-unit rental bldgs has been sliding down in recent years in an attempt to slow condo conversions & incentivize new construction (of course this merely shifts the burden to other taxpayers)

    at this point even if we could get the assessor's attention on this, Gibbon's might actually be better off correcting it!

    as recently as a few years ago a multi-unit rental apt bldg's assessed valuation was 33% of the "market" valuation, so if this "mistake" has been on the books for a decade, we have been ripped off

  7. any 'hoodies pre-date these bldgs?

    is it possible there were 2 "California walk-ups" here before?

  8. "I tried to get the assessor to correct this a few years back ... "

    may I ask, how did you rpt this?

    you'd think reporting this would send an assessor scrambling, but if you did it by phone, I guess I'm not surprised nothing came of it

    particularly when researching roll-your-own appeals, sometimes taxpayers find errors in other people's descriptions

    there's forms on the assessor's website for correcting errors in the description of your OWN property, but not for other people's

    if memory serves, the assessor has a complaint form for this, but it is not available online

  9. The two buildings went up around 1997 or 1998. Prior to that it was vacant for a decade or more. My memory is fading as I get older.

    Hugh I think 4331 is correctly identified as "type" according to the classification system. It has eight units and no interior corridors beyond the entrance hallway. I THINK that is what the classification stands for:

    Two or three story non-frprf. crt. and corridor apts or california type apts, no corridors, ex. entrance

  10. I am the anonymous person who let the assessors office know.

    Let's wait to see if the assessor responds before I respond to how I contacted them and what proof I have.

    Gibbons should have taken our noise complaints about his tenants seriously. Now it is going to cost him I hope.

    Those two buildings always seem to have at least three or four groups of young people who like to have loud keg parties constantly.

  11. Well if this is a case of an absentee landlord trying to make a buck in Uptown and not contributing anything positive to the community...then we can all agree that we have had enough of that. You would think Shiller has too.

  12. I lived in the 4237 building from 2000-2002. Both buildings are identical (8 units per building...all rentals).

  13. "I think 4331 is correctly identified as "type" according to the classification system."

    ok, maybe, I dunno, but there are at least 2 other significant errors in the description of these two properties:

    1. an improved lot taxed as vacant

    2. 8 units of income-producing improvement not on the tax rolls

  14. Gibbons was ahead of his time

    this tax year a rental apartment building is actually assessed at a lower % of "market" value than a vacant lot!

    Cook County Board Approves Assessor’s Plan to Reduce Assessment Level for Class 3 Multi-Family Properties

    CHICAGO---February 15, 2006 - - Cook County Assessor Jim Houlihan celebrated a victory today for building owners and renters as the Cook County Board approved his plan to phase in additional, gradual assessment level reductions for Class 3 multi-family properties.

    “It is critical that we maintain and develop a mix of housing options in order to keep Cook County diverse and vibrant,” Assessor Houlihan said. “On behalf of multi-family Class 3 property owners and renters, I thank the County Board for their support of this measure.”

    In 2002, Assessor Houlihan, with Cook County Board approval, took initial steps toward alleviating the property tax burden on homeowners and renters by implementing a phased-in reduction in the assessment level of multi-family rental buildings from 33% to 26%. This year, the plan approved by the County Board will phase-in additional gradual assessment level reductions from 26% to 24% in 2006, 24% to 22% in 2007, and from 22% to 20% in 2008. ...

    The Assessor’s Office has completed an in-depth study of the impact of this reduction and projections indicate a countywide shift to other classes of property of 1.9%, with minimal impact on the tax base.

  15. so, fellow taxpayers

    when you see a vacant lot, and wonder to yourself, can't something be done to get that land contributing more to the tax base?

    remember, it could be worse: it could be an income-producing rental apartment building!

    welcome to Cook County's bizarro property tax system

  16. Hey IP, here's a campaign disclosure database search tip for ya

    note contributions under various addresses, and for each address, plug the street number back into a fresh search and look for other contributions under different names from the same addr

    Gibbons Property Management LLC
    3720 N Sheffield
    contributions disclosed under
    Gibbons Management
    3734 N Sheffield Ave

    $1,000.00 9/5/2007 to Citizens for Tunney
    $500.00 8/30/2007 to Citizens for Tunney
    $1,000.00 4/26/2006 to Citizens for Tunney
    $500.00 8/11/2005 to Citizens for Tunney
    $500.00 9/4/2003 to Citizens for Tunney
    $500.00 12/6/2002 to Citizens for Shiller
    $500.00 8/21/2002 to Citizens for Shiller
    $200.00 3/11/2002 to Citizens for Quigley
    $500.00 1/15/2002 to Citizens for Shiller
    $500.00 6/18/2001 to Citizens for Shiller
    $500.00 1/4/2001 to Citizens for Shiller
    $500.00 11/20/1999 to Citizens for Shiller

    we don't want to unfairly under-represent Mr. Gibbons' commitment to faux progressive politics

  17. just a hunch, folks, but I think I might have an idea who Gibbons' property tax relief rainmaker is

    it's all in the family

    Gibbons & Gibbons Limited
    401 S la Salle St Ste 604
    Chicago, IL 60605
    (312) 322-0099

    major contributors to Daley, Houlihan, Berrios, Stoger, Tunney, Rugai, and others

    fellow homeowners, call 'em ask 'em they have a special on treating your lawn as a vacant lot