Former Cook County assessor official charged with corruption

Memisovski is accused of accepting jewelry, sports tickets for tax breaks

(iStock/Illustration by The Real Deal)
(iStock/Illustration by The Real Deal)

A former official in the Cook County assessor’s office who accepted sports tickets and jewelry in exchange for tax breaks faces corruption charges.

Federal prosecutors charged Lavdim “Deme” Memisovski with conspiring with two unidentified people to “accept and agree to accept” various items and services in exchange for lower tax bills between 2016 and 2018, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

While Memisovski worked for Cook County assessor Fritz Kaegi, the charges cover the period when he worked for Kaegi’s predecessor, Joseph Berrios, who is under federal investigation for receiving kickbacks.

“Though this person remained an employee of the office, the events mentioned in the charging document occurred during the prior administration and do not reference any activity during this administration,” a spokesperson for Kaegi’s office said in a release.

Kaegi, who promised reform of the assessor’s office as part of his 2018 campaign, has upset some of Chicago’s biggest landlords by appraising the buildings at higher values than the previous administration.

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Kaegi’s office said it was cooperating with federal authorities and would “take all appropriate action to ensure the office maintains its high standard of ethics.”

“On day one of his administration, Assessor Fritz Kaegi put a strict ethics code in place for all employees, which forbids the use of the Assessor’s Office for personal gain,” the spokesperson said. “The leadership of the Assessor’s Office has upheld and continues to uphold the highest ethical standards for all employees.”

Memisovski worked in a department that assesses and establishes property values for taxation purposes. He was listed as a group leader and was also responsible for reviewing property tax appeals for commercial properties.

Kaegi last month won the primary election for Cook County assessor, defeating Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioner Kari Steele, who said Kaegi’s higher commercial valuations were driving business away from Chicago. Kaegi will face off against Independent candidate Nico Tsatsoulis in November.

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[CST] — Victoria Pruitt 

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