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The [Monday] Papers

Just now catching up with last week's Sun-Times report "For J.B. Pritzker, Mansion's Disrepair Has Saved $230K In Taxes."

I recommend clicking through to read the whole thing; I won't summarize the basic gist of it here, so go do that first. I just want to point out the parts that really caught my eye about this billionaire behaving badly.

"The assessor based his decision on an appraisal done by a company hired by the billionaire, who refused to let the appraisers inside the home out of concerns for the security of his family."

What does that mean? What security concerns? That the assessors would plant bugs?

"Berrios agreed to cut the assessment on Pritzker's 113-year-old home based on sales of nearby homes as well as the appraisal from Renzi & Associates, whose appraisers weren't allowed inside. Renzi's 2015 appraisal found the mansion is worth $11 million - about $3.5 million less than the company paid for it nine years earlier.

"We relied on the provided information to judge the quality of the interior improvements, number and types of rooms, finishes and any special property features," Renzi noted in the appraisal given to Berrios. "It is an extraordinary assumption that the provided information was accurate and complete enough to validly assess the interior quality and features. The use of this extraordinary assumption could affect the assignment results if it proves to be contrary to the truth."

"Security concerns were the reason the Pritzkers wouldn't allow the appraisers inside their home, according to his campaign, which says this isn't unusual and notes that the appraiser was given photographs of the interior, including the basement spa and third-floor playroom. And the photos were included in the appraisal submitted to Berrios."

Again, what security concerns? That the appraisers would use the spa or make off with toys from the playroom? Couldn't they simply have been escorted?

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"Both mansions were part of a massive renovation project, whose costs escalated from $11 million to $25 million, according to a lawsuit filed by a contractor who was awarded nearly $1 million in 2013."

Sounds ready for the governorship!

"The Pritzkers had complained the work was shoddy and overpriced. It's unclear how much work was done at the empty mansion."

Sounds ready for the governorship!

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"Berrios originally set the mansion's value at $6.3 million in 2015. But Pritzker's lawyers convinced him the home was worth just $2.5 million and that the assessment should be cut to $968,000 because it's vacant. Berrios lowered his assessment to slightly less than $1.1 million last year and this year.

"Shaer says Berrios is continuing the county's longstanding policy of lowering assessments on vacant homes deemed uninhabitable because that 'encourages rehab' by providing homeowners and contractors with tax breaks.

"Pritzker's campaign says he plans to rehab the vacant mansion someday."

Someday when he can afford it.

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"Pritzker, who recently put $7 million of his own money into his campaign fund, wouldn't talk about the two mansions."

This is never good. While you have the constitutional right to stay silent so as to not incriminate yourself in a criminal case, staying silent in the midst of a story like this is wholly self-incriminating. It also gives the lie to any vows of transparency he pledges as governor.

"Instead, his campaign spokeswoman Galia Slayen responded with a written statement regarding the tax cut on his residence, saying that resulted from a 'routine appeal,' available to any homeowner."

Any homeowner who buys the home next door and lets it become uninhabitable just to save what amounts to chump change for a billionaire while the city starves for every penny of tax revenue it can get.

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"[Slayen] didn't answer why Cook County should grant Pritzker tax breaks on a mansion he has left 'vacant and uninhabitable.'"

Slayen isn't from around here, so maybe she truly doesn't know that this is simply how Cook County works.

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The White Sox Report: Alarming Weirdness
On Saturday, more than 29,000 fans jammed the park for a chance to see these two developing ballclubs. Well, that's not really true. The giveaway of Hawk Harrelson alarm clocks was the real draw.

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BeachBook

Rauner Again Refuses To Take Any Responsibility For The Impasse.

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Mexican Beef Exporters Look To Muslim Markets As U.S. Alternatives.

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Aldi Raises Stakes In Price War With Walmart.

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The Dark Secret Behind Yoga That Nobody Tells You.

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The Islamic Jesus.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

I wouldn't exactly call it "well said."

pansies.png

He wasn't talking about flowers . . .

Screen Shot 2017-05-15 at 6.02.06 AM.png

Plus:

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Flowery.



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Posted on May 15, 2017


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SPORTS - Joe Maddon's Magical Mystery Tour.

BOOKS - Why Al-Qaeda Is Still Strong.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Beachwood Photo Booth: Mural Man.


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