State Representative Laura Fine Family Illegally Claims Two Homeowner’s Exemptions While Berrios Targets Fine’s Republican Opponent
GLENVIEW, IL (October 15, 2014) State Rep. Laura Fine and her husband Michael have been illegally claiming two Illinois homeowner’s exemptions. The Fines claimed one exemption on a single family residential rental property in Glenview and a second homeowners exemption on their family home, also in Glenview. According to public records obtained from Cook County property and taxing agencies, Michael Fine is listed as a taxpayer on their family home as well as their rental property in Glenview and claimed the homeowner’s exemption on both properties, which is illegal. Local Republican leaders will turn over their findings to the Cook County Inspector General and they are demanding a full investigation.
The discovery of Fine’s improper claim of two homeowner’s exemptions comes just a week after a spokesperson for Cook County Assessor and Democratic Party Chairman Joe Berrios’ office was quoted in a north suburban publication that they intend to revoke the homeowner’s exemption claimed by Fine’s Republican opponent, Kathy Myalls, and her husband. Republican officials allege Berrios based this action on false information given to him by Fine’s campaign operatives and north suburban Democratic Party officials. “Berrios determined – without even speaking to Myalls or her husband – that they did not “reside” in Wilmette despite overwhelming facts to the contrary, not the least of which was their children’s continuous and exclusive enrollment in Wilmette schools since they were old enough to attend,” says Bill Cadigan, New Trier Township Republican Organization Committeeman. “We hope Berrios, who ruled without due-process in the Kathy Myalls homeowner’s exemption case, will act as swiftly now that the facts are known of this willful case of fraudulent behavior by the Fine family.”
Cadigan said they will turn over materials related to Berrios’ blatant abuse of power to the Cook County Inspector General’s office including information about his rush to judgment in the Myalls case and the obvious favoritism given a political ally, Laura Fine. Berrios is currently embroiled in litigation with the Inspector General’s office as he continues to assert that he is not subject to the jurisdiction of that office when it comes to responding to subpoenas and cooperating with efforts to root out waste and corruption.
According to real estate records, Rep. Fine’s husband, Michael, has an ownership interest with two partners in a single family residential rental property located at 4711 Lilac Avenue, Glenview, Illinois. Records show that none of the co-owners reside at the Lilac Avenue property and all claim a homeowner’s exemption elsewhere.
Fine has filed three tax appeals on Lilac Avenue property in the last 10 years. The first two times the appeals resulted in a reduction in the assessed valuation. There are no documents in the public record that indicate he ever lived there, so it is unlikely he could have produced documentation of his residence at the Lilac Avenue address. Republicans officials want to know how Fine was able to get the homeowner’s exemption on the property.
Before news of her own improper exemptions became public, Rep. Fine praised Berrios’ actions in the Myalls case saying “residents carried the tax burden with so many people being granted erroneous exemptions. If you want to make laws in Springfield as a legislator, you should abide by them.”
“It is the height of hypocrisy that Rep. Fine would have her operatives plant false information with Berrios just as Kathy Myalls is gaining momentum in this close election, when Fine’s own family so blatantly and intentionally violated the property tax laws,” says Cadigan.
“The race in the 17th District is tight and Laura Fine and the Democrats have to resort to these tactics because they know she cannot defend her record in Springfield of being a rubber stamp for Mike Madigan,” says Kathy Myalls. “Double standards, corruption and the abuse of power are the on-going results of one-party control. North suburban voters are fed up with this and want change. ”