A Cook County Land Bank employee was fired after the agency’s director Robert Rose, discovered she had scored a deal on a vacant house and then evaded paying thousands of dollars in property taxes.
Rose’s former executive assistant, Natasha Cornog, was taking homestead property tax exemptions exemptions on the Oak Lawn house and two others that she owns — two more than the law allows – cutting her property tax bills by more than $16,000 over the past 14 years, the Sun-Times reported.
Her elderly mother took advantage of a senior citizens assessment freeze and saved more than $23,000 in property taxes since 2006 despite her daughter’s salary exceeding the $65,000 threshold, the newspaper determined.
The Cook County Assessor’s office plans to investigate how the property tax freeze was obtained and determine whether it will take action to have any of those tax breaks repaid. It will ask her to repay nearly $6,000 to make up for four years of taking improper exemptions on the two other homes that she owns on the South Side.
Cornog’s insider deal on the Oak Lawn house at 8712 Austin Avenue prompted a rule change in November 2018 to ban county employees and their immediate relatives from acquiring property directly from the land bank.
Cornog bought the home in 2018 for $150,000, less than what two developers offered, from the land bank, which paid almost $142,000 for it.
The Land Bank Authority was already under investigation as a result of another insider deal. [Sun-Times] – Brianna Kelly