Ives says Pritzker property tax dispute should be 'fully investigated'
Republican Rep. Jeanne Ives continues to urge law enforcement to look into news that Gov. J.B. Pritzker and several family members, including his wife, are under federal investigation for a scheme where they removed all toilets from one of their Gold Coast properties to allegedly gain a property tax break.
“Everyone should be treated equally and this should be fully investigated and prosecuted if authorities determine what they find to warrant it,” Ives told the DuPage Policy Journal. “I’m thankful that federal law enforcement decided to investigate after it became obvious state and county officials had elected to drop the issue.”
What’s already known from an investigation by Cook County inspector general Patrick Blanchard late last year is that MK Pritzker ordered workers to strip the multimillion dollar residence of all toilets in order to have it declared “uninhabitable.” This substantially lowered the property tax rates paid on the property by her and her husband by at least $331,000 as the assessed market value of the home tumbled from more than $6.25 million to slightly less than $1.08 million.
WBEZ Radio reported the 33-page summary also fingered several Pritzker associates for falsifying documents related to the probe, including brother-in-law Thomas J. Muenster.
“The Cook County inspector general concluded this was a scheme to defraud,” Ives said. “You read the whole report, and it’s obvious that they falsified documents. People need to know when Gov. Pritzker cheated on his property taxes he didn’t just impact his neighbor. He cheated on everybody.”
Ives said she finds it ironic that news of Pritzker’s alleged transgressions comes at a time when he is pushing a tax hike in the form of a graduated income tax on some of the state’s most affluent residents.
“It definitely calls into question his wanting to raise taxes on everyone else when he cheats on his own tax bill,” she said. “I think this hurts his ability to get his graduated tax across and if he is prosecuted it will affect his ability to run the state."
According to WBEZ, the controversy that has dogged Pritzker since the campaign officially became a federal investigation just before he was elected governor in November.
Earlier this week Prtizker's attorney Marc Elias, a partner with Perkins Coie Law Firm, released a statement insisting “neither the governor nor the first lady have been contacted by law enforcement regarding the property tax appeal. “We are confident that any further review of the matter will show that the appropriate rules were followed.”