A press release from several Lake County Township Assessors:
Several elected township assessors and taxpayers file federal lawsuit against Lake County, Martin Paulson, the Lake County Chief County Assessment Officer and the Lake County Board of Review
CHICAGO, IL. – Five elected township assessors and seven taxpayers have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Lake County Chief County Assessment Official, Martin Paulson, Lake County and the Lake County Board of Review.
The three-count lawsuit was filed on October 27, 2016 by the elected assessors of
- Grant Township
- Cuba Township
- Libertyville Township
- Ela Township
- Vernon Township.
The lawsuit alleges that Paulson is blocking the township assessors from properly valuing property because he seeks to abolish and overtake their offices.
Among other things, the lawsuit alleges that Paulson’s office completely reversed changes that the township assessors made in valuations of over 17,000 parcels in less than 72 hours, without regard to the reasons why the valuation of the parcels had changed and solely in retaliation against the township assessors.
In addition, the lawsuit details numerous provisions of the Property Tax Code that Paulson is not properly following and requests a court order requiring him to follow the law.
The lawsuit also alleges that Paulson and the Board of Review are making “off the record” deals with certain taxpayers outside of public hearings, and that such deals are improper and hurting other taxpayers.
“We are required to consider changes to properties annually to determine whether the property’s assessment has changed.
“For example, if a house burns down, we reduce the value.
“If a house adds an addition, we increase the value.
“Paulson completely eliminated all of our changes within a matter of hours,” stated Grant Township Assessor Jeri Barr.
Libertyville Township Assessor Peggy Freese echoed these concerns.
“In my Township, a taxpayer’s advocate called Paulson and received a $11,000,000 reduction in their property’s valuation – resulting in tax savings of about $910,000 to that taxpayer without any hearing or evidence at all.”