Grafton Township Assessor Explains Lakewood Village President’s Assessment Cut

Jason McMahon posted the following under this story about Bryan Younge’s lawyer’s email to the Lakewood Village Attorney:

In other news, Village President Phil Stephan received a $7,000 per year discount on his $14,000 property tax bill courtesy of Alan Zielinski Grafton Township Assessor and didn’t bother to bring the “error” to anyone’s attention.  

Of interest may be the other big winners in the property tax shuffle.

I sent it to Zielinski and here is his reply:

Below is our office’s response to one of the comments in your “Lakewood Trustee Bryan Younge Hires Attorney in Dispute with Village Board” article.

Since running for and taking office, the following principles have been steadfastly maintained by the Grafton Township Assessor’s office. 

1. Without exception, obey the Illinois Property Tax Code and all other applicable statues. 
2. Be accurate in our assessments. 
3. Be fair and uniform in our assessments. 
4. No “deals” for anyone for any reason.
5. Be proud of our candor and honesty with everyone.  

The much-discussed parcel is in neighborhood 180085, a new neighborhood created for the 2019 general assessment. 

The neighborhood synopsis is attached which explains the entire assessment process.  

As evidenced by the 5 years of market data in that synopsis, the entire neighborhood declined roughly $2.75 million in assessed value. 

Since 147 of the neighborhood’s 192 parcels received reductions, relating to principle #4 above, no “deals” were made for anyone.  

It should be noted the much-discussed parcel is among the smallest dwellings in that neighborhood. 

Because the assessment model relied primarily on dwelling size, the smaller the dwelling the lower the assessment.  

As an aside, should someone think that neighborhood’s reduction was large, consider the two following commercial parcels that received reductions at the county level. 




Just these two parcels had an equivalent reduction to the entire 192-parcel neighborhood of 180085. 

These are just 2 of the 111 primarily commercial parcels changed by the county resulting in a net EAV reduction of $13.65 million.  

That reduction in EAV was then redistributed across all of Grafton Township (which is about 95% residential).  

After submitting the 2019 assessment book, we noticed a clerical error had been made affecting the entire neighborhood of 180085. 

Specifically, the oversight was not manually adjusting some parcels for athletic courts, inground pools and walkout basements.  

61 of the 193 parcels in this neighborhood were affected resulting in a neighborhood assessment increase of $560,000. 

Rather than bury it and hope nobody noticed, we made the corrections in our 2020 assessment book consistent with our adherence to principle #5 above.  

I genuinely apologize for our oversight and can/will state with certainty all Grafton Township’s assessments are as accurate and uniform as possible.  

Alan Zielinski 
Grafton Township Assessor IL & WI Certified Residential Real Estate Appraiser 
(v) 847.669.3383


Grafton Township Assessor Explains Lakewood Village President’s Assessment Cut — 29 Comments

  1. Come on now what’s seven thousand dollars between political buddies?

    I’m sure this goes on everywhere and everyday in McHenry County.

    They’ve got their guy in the McHenry County States Attorneys Office running unopposed to ensure that McHenry County politicians are never prosecuted.

    These situations then are hidden by the Northworst Herald editorial team or are deflected and spun to conceal the truth from the voting/ taxpaying public.

    There’s quite the good old boys club in McHenry County.

    The local media and law enforcement protect those they’re supposed to.

    That’s their job!

  2. What a fricking moron, AL’s reasoning is misguided.

    His favorite superhero must be Robbing the Hood because this superhero robs from the poor to give to the rich.

    How about this for a novel idea Mr. Magoo, house buying and selling is cyclical.

    The bubble burst in 2008-2009.

    Said house purchased in 2011, like the one at you buddie’s golf course mansion, was already adjusted for the bursting bubble, he bought it lower and at a certain price knowing the taxes..

    A house 2 doors down from him sold a year and a half ago for over 544k.

    Said house, that you claim was the smallest in the area is a 5 bed 3.5 bath with over 4500 sq ft of living space, Ranch style home on 1.3 acres in a golf course.

    Granite counter tops, trey ceilings, hardwood floors, a built in cement pond (pool) for non-Al people, dual circular driveway, all for the depressed AL Zillow EAV of 220k.

    Do you think if I went to the Lakewood President tomorrow and offered to buy his house for the $220 you say it’s worth, do you think he would sell it to me AL?

    Do you even think he would take 300k??

    Put your glasses back on Mr. Magoo

    Home taxes should not go up more than a couple percent a year until it is sold and then you tie the taxes to the selling price, otherwise you are guessing a home’s worth based on Magoo’s superhero status as Robbing the Hood.

    But they should almost never should go down 46% in a golf course community unless the golf course closes or you have a quid pro quo and want to go to jail when the FBI finds your misdeeds.

    Allegedly….but you might need that attorney, a moron for Smoron.

    For the record, Al assessed my 2 bed, 1.5 bath 900 sq ft home, 35 years old, original hollow pine doors (100k brand new 1985) etc…194K EAV, and the Village President’s home is 220K.

    Let’s swap Mr. President, what do you say, we have similar taxes, come on, please…..

  3. Reason #222 why township assessors must be consolidated into a countywide uniform tax assessment procedure that has transperancy.

    Indiana did this in 2009.

    My Dad who was fighting a vengeful political opponent township tax assessor saw his prop. tax bill fall by 60% after the township assessors got axed.

  4. Zielinski neglects to mention that his pal was getting the underassessment for years.

  5. For comparison purposes: I also have a 2,500 sq ft ranch in Lakewood.

    No brick, no pool, no golf course lot, no finished basement, no walk out basement, no circle drive, 1/2 acre not 1.3 acres AND my house is valued OVER 23% higher!!

    Try again Alan.

  6. Cal, I can’t email your tech guy from that link but my posts have been hours delayed, not a good way to make a point and contribute to this forum.

    Please have your tech guy allow my posts to be posted in a timely manner or tell me what I am doing wrong?

    You don’t need to post this, just act on it and open my posts please.

  7. Zielinski’s statements are some of the funniest things I’ve read this year. Let’s see here…

    “1. Without exception, obey the Illinois Property Tax Code and all other applicable statues.”

    No, he ignores that code when it’s convenient for him.

    He reassessed 15,000 homes in a Non Quadrennial year.

    And he still attempts to reassess in non-quad years.

    The Illinois Property Tax code and the case Albee v. Soat makes it clear you don’t do this.

    He also sales chases…something that Illinois Case Law and Assessment Statues clearly state as wrong and improper.

    He ignores FOIA laws too.

    That has gotten the township sued.

    When it comes to obeying the law, Al is the exception.

    In his defense, I don’t think he really understands the responsibilities of an assessor.

    “2. Be accurate in our assessments.”

    Per the Illinois Dept. of Revenue, Grafton had it’s highest Sales Ratio accuracy in 2013…the year before Al took office….at 33.6%.

    The target is 33.3%.

    It hasn’t been anywhere close to that since.

    And don’t bother saying how the Coefficient of Dispersion was the lowest in the county.

    It was also one of the lowest in the county before his idiocy took over.

    It should also be noted, when Al was briefly double dipping as County Assessor at Boone County, he screwed up the assessment numbers so bad the State had to come in and apply an equalizer.

    That hadn’t been done in decades.

    And he was there just a few months.

    “3. Be fair and uniform in our assessments.”

    An 2017 Sales Ratio assessment report from his own office showed that the neighborhoods he created were assessed unevenly.

    Al fought to release this report until the Public Access Counselor stated he improperly withheld it.

    Some neighborhoods were as high as a 34.48% Sales Ratio, and others as low as 23.27%.

    Some neighborhoods are in the hundreds and some are barely over single digits.

    The county adjusts some of his dumber assessments too.

    The ironic thing is that Sales Ratio report showed that Al’s neighborhood of Turnberry was actually assessed pretty solid, but his lakefront address still somehow got a 24% drop on appeal in 2018.

    “4. No “deals” for anyone for any reason.”

    The Assessment for the home of the Lakewood President fell by nearly HALF.


    That was one the biggest drops in Grafton for the Quadrennial…a township with 20,000+ properties..

    For a home with a pool, walkout basement, and 1.3 acre plot that backs to a golf course.

    Does he think we were born yesterday?

    Also, the assessment on Al’s address went up a whole 3% between 2015 and 2019.

    For a 3300 square foot, 1.4 acre lakefront residence across from a golf course.

    Yeah, we buy that.

    Al’s neighbor got a sweetheart deal.

    They bought a home for $550k in 2016, and he still assessed it in the mid-450s for the quadrennial.

    That hasn’t happened anywhere else in the township.

    Good to know the assessor, eh?

    “5. Be proud of our candor and honesty with everyone.”

    Al has lied to his taxpayers multiple times.

    – He kept insisting on purchasing new computers from the vendor Entre, despite higher prices and past service issues. (Later, Entre miraculously lowered their prices.) Al stated Entre had never taken him out for dinner, ect. Well it turns out they took him golfing. There was a picture of him posing at an Entre outing at a private club in Rockford on Facebook. (P.S. You might want to check the IL laws about accepting gifts, Al.)

    – He stated he would quit the Grafton Job when he switched to the Boone County Assessor position full time. Well it turns out he started working Boone full time and still didn’t quit the Grafton assessor position. For some reason Boone County didn’t employ him very long.

    – He stated he didn’t have anything to do with an appeal that dropped his address 24% in assessment value. The appeal paperwork that was submitted had templates and forms used by the Grafton Township office, and the wording showed it was clearly done by a certified appraiser. There were also sheets on the appeal paperwork from the MLS…a pay service that certified appraisers use. Al is the only certified appraiser that lives at his address.

    – He stated the township was in horrible assessment shape when he took over. As stated above, Grafton had a Sales Ratio of 33.6% the year before it took over. The target is 33.3%. So, a lie.

    And that’s just a thumbnail.

    So yeah, let’s trust this con job with our assessments.

  8. This is absolute garbage.

    So a house that is 5 bedroom 3.5 bath on a golf course and open space in Lakewood, 4500 livable space. In ground pool, 2 fireplaces, Custom ranch home with a 3 car garage. On a 1.3 acre lot. Pays $6900. Cash value 240,000?

    While a basic cookie cutter 2300 sq ft house 4 bed 2 bath in Huntley on a 1/4 acre lot pays $7400. Cash value 285,00?

    Yeah okay Al.

  9. Comments go up automatically unless they from a new poster.

    We have no control over the timing.

  10. If the States Attorney doesn’t look into this guys crooked practice of playing Robbinghood and apparently getting free golf and food and only a subpoena will find what else, then they both need to be voted out of office.

    If the States Attorney needs a complainant, then just ask, I will be happy to help him find the quid pro quo.

    I encourage everyone to show up at the next Grafton meeting next week and lets all take turns yelling at Mr. Magoo.

  11. Big p.o.s Just give me the cash for what you assessed mine at so I can get out of IL. Oh and check on the number of fires Al started that his supervisor had to go around and put out!!

  12. Or maybe I should follow the example set by President Stephan and only pay half of what I rightfully owe.

    If only I was a relative or a supporter, maybe I would have saved between $4,000 to $7,000 as well.

    Use you name Snerdley.

    Let’s see your tax bill.

    Or are you a beneficiary too?

  13. I am tired of everyone complaining.

    How about finding someone who will run against the assessor in the upcoming election?

    If not then just save your effort.

    Don’t you have more effective ways of problem solving?

  14. Phil. What an embarrassment.

    I hope you will try to have that corrected.

    This is not Chicago.

    You have a responsibility to all the folks who elected you.

  15. Al Zielinski is a blowhard and a joke.

    Fortunately, unlike County Assessors, a Township Assessor is accountable to the VOTERS..

    And Zielinski is up for election in the Spring 2021 election.

    Find a candidate to replace him NOW and follow all petition and residency requirements and filing deadlines.

    The candidate also has to meet State requirements to be certified to run (Assessors need to be be certified by the State in order to stand for election, but appraisers with certain designations can also run).

    NOW is the time to dump him and his nonsense…

  16. Linda, that is in the works.

    If we can’t find one who already has the acronyms it takes to qualify for said proctologist position, I will take the course and run against him with the promise that I will lower everyone’s assessed value who doesn’t live in Lakewood or one of Al’s relatives.

    He will not win another write-in, not on my watch and this time I am watching.

    For 30 years in the same house, I have never had to watch for my assessment because there never was a surprise.

    Low and behold, Al Zillow picked my pocket for a 33% raise.

    See you soon Mr. Magoo, it might be time to get a flash mob going with megaphones and march on his block to protest.

    Or…he can make it easy on himself and resign.

  17. Here is another fun fact:

    Go to the Grafton Township website and pull up the PIN 18-11-178-002 and look at its assessment.

    That is another ranch home, with square footage smaller than Mr. Stephans, on a lot that is 1/2 the size.

    No pool, but it is on a lakefront.

    And Zielinski valued it at TWICE THE ASSESSMENT. They are less than a mile away from each other. Fair and equitable?

    And Ms. Linda Moore…you should know about train wrecks in Grafton.

    You nearly ran Grafton into the ground, and was running campaign events with Mr. Zielinski when he first moved here.

    It is so great to hear you are in his corner.

  18. By the way Mr. Zielinski, you try to distract us by whining about reduced assessments at two commercial properties listed in your email.

    Uh, yeah, NO.

    YOU made some insane increases on these commercial properties for the Quadrennial, and the Board of Review just assessed them back down.

    PIN# 18-28-186-017 is a retail property on 47 that you jacked more than TWO AND A HALF TIMES its 2018 assessment, from $729k to nearly $1,900k.

    And the anchor section of that, a space that used to be a grocery, ISN’T EVEN OCCUPIED.

    PIN # 18-25-226-044 is the Boulder Ridge Clubhouse…which you opted to raise nearly SIX TIMES ITS 2018 ASSESSMENT, from $318k to $1,868k.


    The Board of Review merely adjusted it back to sane levels.

    Why didn’t you mention your increases in the email, Al?

    I’m guessing your skills as a commercial assessor are bush league, and the Board of Review was adjusting.

    If you disagree, find a third party assessor that chugs out numbers like yours.

    o you even know what you’re doing, or do you just use a dartboard?

  19. Joe, if you’re going to be “marching” then Patty O’Kenneally will have interest as he loves marching around with arms and legs akimbo.

    Jackalope’s like Patty O always do!

  20. AL assisted in his girlfriends house in 2011 procuring a foreclosure on the lake at a rock bottom price and has always since then paid less taxes per square foot than anyone else in his area. Gamed the system, see the pattern. He is an opportunist who bottom feeds and robs from the poor and gives to the rich. RobbingHood He needs to be in handcuffs getting greeted by Bubba. I hope you get Covid Mr. Magoo. Slow painful cough you short fat bastard.

  21. You have to take a lot more than one course to get certified to be an assessor.

    Its going to be difficult to accomplish that in such a short time.

    Grafton taxpayer, you have a selective memory and insults don’t end all this complaining.

    How about trying to be a problem solver?

  22. Ms. Moore,

    Your responses are amusing, especially since when you were Grafton Township Supervisor, YOU WERE THE PROBLEM. There were $650,000 in legal bills, and a refusal to pay for an audit of your books, until a judge threatened you jail time. While I am sure all these issues were not 100% your fault, the fact that you fail to take ownership for anything, especially for the fact that Grafton Township was barely solvent when you left office says a lot about you. You are, quite frankly, similar to Mr. Zielinski where you have you own absolute views that fail to converse with reality, and a complete inability to work with others in a public setting for the betterment of taxpayers, and that has cost us dearly. Good riddance as you have already wasted enough of my time. While we are on the topic…how do you know Mr. Zielinski, as you and him were in campaign events.

    And this is not about “solving problems” this is about accountability. Mr. Zielisnki has abused the trust that was bestowed upon him as a public official time and again, and he no longer should be employed at the position. That is the core issue here.

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