Officials will look into a property tax assessment for a home owned by Todd Ricketts, Cubs co-owner and Republican National Committee Finance Chairman, after a Chicago Tribune report discovered that he was paying property taxes based on a smaller, century-old Wilmette home that was demolished.
The Ricketts’ property is the latest example to illustrate serious problems with Cook County’s assessment system. According to the newspaper’s investigation, Ricketts paid property taxes based on a house that he had knocked down to make way for his current 5,000-square-foot home built in 2010.
The error means that the son of billionaire Joe Ricketts paid much less in property taxes over the years—tens of thousands of dollars less. The state requires that homeowners notify the assessor’s office when a new home is constructed, but there’s no record that the Ricketts’ did so.
Officials said they would look into the assessment and recalculate it after the Tribune had reached out with the information, the newspaper said. Plus, the county’s Board of Review, which oversaw a 2013 property tax appeal, would investigate.
For years it’s been known that the assessment system produced incorrect valuations for thousands of industrial, commercial, and residential properties. Former Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios led a system that benefitted wealthier homeowners and burdened low-income communities. It’s an issue that Assessor Fritz Kaegi, elected last year, is attempting to address through data transparency, better policies, and informed valuations.
However, the underassessment for the Ricketts’ home went unnoticed by three different county assessors, the Tribune said. It further illustrates the many years of problems and a faulty system that Kaegi has not yet fixed. While the assessor’s office is making progress, the system isn’t trustworthy yet.