Trump gets $1M tax refund on Chicago tower
Ruling ends 12-year appeal process
Former President Donald Trump and co-owners of his namesake Chicago hotel and tower are getting a $1 million tax refund after a lengthy appeal process.
The Illinois Appellate Court determined that the Trump Tower was overvalued a dozen years ago by the Cook County assessor’s office and the Cook County Board of Review, thus raising property taxes on a skewed scale, the Chicago Sun Times reported.
The state agency ultimately found that the assessor’s office placed too much value on the property’s retail spaces, which were vacant at the time. The Cook County treasurer’s office will begin preparing refunds totaling $1 million for the building’s hotel rooms and condo spaces after a three-member appellate court panel rejected the Cook County Board of Review’s appeal.
The refunds will stem from various government agencies, with the bulk of it — $540,000 — coming from the Chicago Public Schools system. The ruling will have no impact on the condos at the site.
Alderman Edward M. Burke, who represents the 14th Ward and is the longest-tenured City Council member, filed the initial appeal of the tax value for Trump when Burke’s law firm represented him. Burke had won more than $14 million in tax breaks for Trump over a 12-year stretch, but their relationship soured in 2018 when the Chicago Democrat cited “irreconcilable differences” with the then-president, whose policies angered Hispanic residents of Burke’s 14th Ward, the outlet reported.
Last year, it was reported that Trump earned less than $200,000 on leases for the retail portion of the property. The two tenants included a hair salon and a river cruise company that leased a small dock on the Chicago River.
The Board of Review has the power to lower the assessor’s valuations through its own appeal process, but was fighting to have a higher tax value reinstated on the Trump property after it obtained a cut through a separate appeal system, a state agency called the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board. In June 2021, the state body found the assessor overvalued the commercial portions of the skyscraper in 2011.
The Board of Review wanted a higher tax value to stay in place. Trump’s discount will be issued unless the Cook County body appeals its case to the Illinois Supreme Court.
— Quinn Donoghue