(USA Features) Former President Donald Trump’s company is owed $1 million in tax refunds by the city of Chicago, but the Cook County prosecutor who has a history of filings against the Trump Organization is attempting to block it.
Reports noted that Trump is owed $1.03 million in tax refunds from 2011 for a skyscraper he built in the Windy City, but Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Fox has filed a lawsuit in an attempt to block the payment.
In June, the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board found “that the Cook County Board of Review overestimated the value of the building’s hotel rooms and retail space,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
The refund, which had yet to be issued, would “come out of property taxes due to the city of Chicago and eight other government agencies, including Chicago Public Schools, which stands to lose the biggest chunk of money, about $540,000,” according to the news outlet.
Originally, the case was filed by Alderman Edward M. Burke, whose former law firm, Klafter & Burke, noted that the Trump skyscraper was over-assessed by city officials.
The firm has managed to secure more than $14 million in tax breaks for the former president’s company over the years. Burke ended the legal relationship in 2018, however, citing “irreconcilable differences.”
As a Chicago Democrat who has since left the law firm but remains on the City Council, his largely Hispanic constituents have disagreed with many of Trump’s policies while in office, according to the paper.”
But Burke himself has gotten into legal trouble.
“Burke has since been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges that he blocked businesses from getting city permits unless they hired his law firm. He has left the firm, but remains on the City Council while awaiting trial,” the paper reported.
Trump’s current attorney is Patrick McNerney; the case “languished” before the appeal board for almost a decade, the paper reported.
“The appeal involves only the hotel rooms and the retail spaces, including the vacant storefronts along the Chicago River, which occupy about a third of the skyscraper. The residential condos aren’t part of this case,” the paper added.
Initially, Trump’s company argued that vacant stores within the structure did not have value because he never found any tenants to lease them to. But the appeals board initially batted down that argument, noting in a written opinion that the empty spaces nevertheless “add contributory value to the overall building.”
Still, in June the board voted 5-0 to reduce assessments on the building’s commercial properties which then triggered the $1.03 million refund in Trump’s favor, which was only slightly less than Burke had originally sought.
A previous finding in 2018 said that Burke had not proven that the building’s value was overestimated. However, “a new report was written by another staff member, who argued Trump and Burke had proven the skyscraper was overvalued and was entitled to a refund of $1 million,” the paper reported.
“But the state agency delayed acting on the case while Trump was still president,” the paper added.
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s office filed an appeal last month. If the county wins, the case could be further appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court, where Burke’s wife, Chief Justice Anne M. Burke, heads up the panel.