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Illinois will return more than $ 1 million of overpaid real estate tax to Trump

The Illinois IRS has ruled that President Donald Trump will receive a $ 1 million tax refund on his 2011 Trump International Hotel & Tower bill because the Cook County Supervisory Board overestimated the building's hotel rooms and retail space. Writes about it Chicago Sun Times.

Photo: Shutterstock

The Cook County Attorney has filed a lawsuit with the Illinois Court of Appeals in an attempt to block a tax refund that has not yet been filed.

If Trump gets his tax refund, it will be deducted from property taxes owed by the City of Chicago and eight other institutions, including Chicago schools, that are likely to lose the most money - about $ 540.

This is the latest twist in a case originally filed by Edward Burke, whose law firm alleged Cook County officials had overestimated Trump's skyscraper.

Burke's former law firm Klafter & Burke won more than $ 14 million in tax breaks for Trump over a decade, but ended the relationship in 2018.

Since then, Burke has been accused by a federal grand jury of not allowing businesses to obtain city permits unless they hired his law firm. He left the firm, but remains on the city council.

Trump's current lawyer, Patrick McNerney, could not be reached for comment on the 2011 case, which has been under the agency's jurisdiction over the past decade.

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The case concerns only hotel rooms and retail space, including empty shop windows on the banks of the Chicago River, which occupy about a third of the skyscraper. Residential condominiums are not included in this case.

Trump initially argued that his empty stores were of no value because he never found tenants to rent them out. But the agency dismissed this argument and said these empty spaces "add value to the entire building."

However, on June 2, the Illinois Real Estate Tax Appeals Board voted 5-0 to downgrade the building's commercial property valuation, which would reimburse Trump $ 1,03 million (slightly less than Burke demanded).

This contradicts a decision written by an agency official in early 2018 that rejected Burke's attempts to obtain refunds for Trump. According to him, they were unable to prove that the district overestimated the building.

This document has been postponed. The new report was written by another employee who is convinced that Trump and Burke proved that the skyscraper was overvalued and was eligible for a refund of $ 1 million. But the department postponed the consideration of the case while Trump was still president.

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Then, in November 2019, an anonymous employee filed a complaint with the Illinois Inspector General's Office - claiming that the agency's executive director, Mauro Glorioso, led the Trump reimbursement case. Glorioso made several small contributions to the campaign. Glorioso denied the allegations in a lawsuit he has since filed against the Chicago Sun-Times for disclosing information about the investigation.

The inspector general's investigation prompted Gov. J.B. Pritzker to fire Glorioso, replacing him with Michael O'Malley, a Cook County assistant attorney who worked in the attorney's office for real estate and anti-corruption. O'Malley said the Trump case will be postponed pending the completion of the inspector general's investigation.

O'Malley and the Inspector General's chief attorney declined to say if the investigation was complete, but almost two months ago the board of directors approved the rewritten report.

The district attorney filed an appeal with the Illinois Court of Appeals on July 9. The Illinois attorney general's office intervened on behalf of the appeal board.

Any decision of the appellate court can be appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court, which is chaired by Burke's wife, Chief Justice Ann Burke.

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