When Mesirow Financial Services — a Chicago company that manages millions of dollars in pension funds for the state of Illinois — and its partners wanted to fight the property taxes on their new skyscraper, they called the law offices of Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan.
Madigan’s law firm saved the Mesirow group more than $1.7 million in real estate taxes by persuading Cook County officials to slash the value of the River North building by 60 percent soon after it opened nearly five years ago.
Mesirow no longer owns the building at 353 N. Clark that still serves as its headquarters. But the law firm of Madigan & Getzendanner has continued to save Mesirow money by getting the tax bills lowered for the building’s owner.
Related Illinois Review stories:
Friends of Froelich Part 1: Froehlich denies campaign donation swap for lower re-assessment
Friends of Froehlich Part 2
Friends of Froehlich 3: Campaigning or Political Pressure?
Friends of Froehlich 4: A Knock At The Door
Madigan’s firm has gotten Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios — chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party and a political ally of Madigan, the chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party — to slash the skyscraper’s value, arguing it hasn’t been particularly profitable, in part because of “generous rent abatements” Mesirow agreed to give its tenants, including Mesirow itself.
Over the past three years, Berrios’ assessment cuts have saved the building’s new owner, Tishman Speyer, nearly $15 million in real estate taxes that otherwise would have been passed on, which passes the tax bills on to Mesirow and other tenants, records show.
And another tax cut is on the way. Madigan got Berrios and the Cook County Board of Review to again slash the estimated value of the property early this year. The resulting tax savings won’t be determined until tax bills are calculated later this summer.