Former Cook County assessor official pleads guilty to conspiracy

Plea shows Memisovski traded lower assessments for home improvements

Former Cook County assessor official pleads guilty to conspiracy
(Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty Images)

A former employee of the Cook County assessor’s office pleaded guilty to helping lower taxes on certain properties by at least $1 million, and receiving in return benefits including home improvements.

Lavdim Memisovski had been charged with conspiracy and agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. The actions occurred between 2016 and 2018 under then-Assessor Joe Berrios, who was previously the subject of a federal investigation. Berrios was ousted by his opponent in the 2018 election, current Cook Coutny Assessor Fritz Kaegi.

Memisovski, who worked as a group leader assessing commercial property values and reviewing property tax appeals, was accused of conspiring to accept home improvement materials and services, as well as jewelry, meals, sporting event tickets and more as a reward for reducing assessed values, resulting in lower property tax bills.

Memisovski’s plea agreement states that he agreed to accept benefits from two unidentified people and their companies while knowing they wanted him to lower assessments.

According to the document, Memisovski ensured the appeals of those properties were routed to him, extended the appeal filing deadlines and reduced the properties’ assessed values. That led to a tax break of at least $1 million.

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The people provided home improvements at Memisovski’s residence, including a concrete pad, decking materials, dumpster usage, fascia and soffit, a fence, a gas line, heads for a sprinkler system, windows and labor.

The plea agreement also said Memisovski said the scheme involved other employees of the Cook County assessor’s office.

Memisovski’s sentencing hearing hasn’t been scheduled. Though federal sentencing guidelines call for a five-year prison sentence, prosecutors have agreed to recommend probation if they are satisfied with his cooperation.

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Former Cook County Assessor Joe Berrior is reportedly under federal investigation related to possible kickbacks in exchange for favorable assessments (Credit: iStock)
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(iStock/Illustration by The Real Deal)
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– Rachel Herzog