When one Schaumburg resident signed a tax appeal form that State Representative Paul Froehlich offered her at her door a few months ago, she says she was under the distinct impression she wouldn't have to do anything more but wait to hear how much her home's assessment had been lowered and how much her property taxes had gone down.
"He told me I had an 80 percent chance of getting my taxes lowered, but never mentioned anything about having to go to Chicago for a hearing," she said.
But when that same resident opened a letter from the Cook County Board of Review Friday (see graphic right), she was informed she'd need to go downtown on June 23 for a hearing before county officials, as well as gather information about comparable houses in her area and take photos.
"We weren't prepared for all this," she said. "Froehlich gave us the impression it would all be taken care of when I signed the sheet at the door."
Wheeling Township assessor Dan Patlak said when he worked for the Board of Review, it was a normal part of the process for Cook County property owners to be notified about pending hearings and what they needed to do to prepare.
"After we'd receive the form appealing their assessments, we would notify them of a set hearing date, and tell them the information they needed for the appeal process, and their options," he said.
Patlak said there were three options for property owners once the hearing date was set: 1) choose to ignore the hearing altogether, thereby dismissing the reassessment; 2) gather the needed information to justify the reassessment consideration - possibly contacting their local township assessor for assistance in meeting the requirement; or 4) hire an attorney familiar with the process to represent them.
The Schaumburg resident who received Friday's letter said she contacted Rep. Froehlich's district office the same day, and spoke to the office manager who told her that "this has never happened before."
"That's true, none of the people we helped with their assessment appeals were ever notified they had to attend a Review hearing when I handled the appeals," former office manager Judy McCurdy told Illinois Review. "None, zero."
"I don't know what happened before, but now we have a hearing scheduled before the Board of Review that we didn't expect," the Schaumburg resident said.
Illinois Review has asked Rep. Froehlich questions pertaining to this development, and will report as soon as we hear back from him. Froehlich's notably high success rate in getting his constituents assessments lowered has been questioned in an ongoing series featured on Illinois Review and Fox Chicago News over the last couple of months.
Hotel owners who've been successful in lowering their property tax bills (one by over $274,000 over three years), were found to have made substantial contributions to his re-election campaign fund. He's also been questioned about the unauthorized use of a Rolling Meadows school bus to transport campaign office equipment.
More to come on Illinois Review.com... Other related stories are available HERE.