Today, the Illinois Republican Congressional Delegation sent the following letter to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois. The letter calls for a full investigation into JB Pritzker’s “scheme to defraud” Illinois taxpayers by ripping toilets out of his mansion to claim the property as uninhabitable.
See the letter signed by all seven members of Illinois’ Republican Congressional delegation below:
October 3, 2018
The Honorable John R. Lausch, Jr.
United States Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division
219 S. Dearborn St., 5th Floor
Chicago, IL 60604
We write to call your attention to a recent Cook County Inspector General investigation which concluded that Jay Robert (J.B.) Pritzker engaged in a “scheme to defraud” Cook County of over $300,000 in improper property tax reductions and refunds.
As reported by the Chicago Sun-Times, the Cook County Assessor’s Office in 2015 reduced the assessed valuation of a mansion owned by Mr. Pritzker from $6.25 million to just under $1.1 million. These reductions allowed Mr. Pritzker to claim $132,747.18 in refunds for property taxes paid in 2012, 2013 and 2014, and reduced his property taxes for 2015 and 2016 by $198,684.85.
The Inspector General’s report concluded that the assessment reductions were reduced due to fraudulent affidavits submitted by Tom Muenster, Mr. Pritzker’s brother-in-law, and Christine Lovely, Mary Kathryn (M.K.) Pritzker’s assistant. These affidavits falsely claimed that the mansion had been “vacant and uninhabitable,” with no working toilets, since January 1, 2012. The Inspector General report found that, contrary to the affidavits, the toilets had been removed on October 6, 2015, just ten days before a scheduled appraisal of the property, at the direction of M.K. Pritzker. According to an email obtained by the Inspector General, Ms. Pritzker directed that the toilets be removed for the express purpose of allowing the house to be declared uninhabitable.
The facts described in the Inspector General’s report appear to constitute fraud and perjury. Since the improperly-obtained refund checks were sent to Mr. Pritzker through the U.S. Mail, a violation of 18 USC 1341 (the Federal Mail Fraud Statute) may have occurred.
Illinois, perhaps more than any other state, has suffered greatly due to public corruption. Four of Illinois’ last nine governors have gone to prison. It is important to send a strong signal to the people of Illinois that no one is above the law, not even billionaires running for Governor. For that reason, we urge you to fully investigate this matter with all due speed.
U.S. Representative Peter Roskam (IL-6)
U.S. Representative Mike Bost (IL-12)
U.S. Representative Rodney Davis (IL-13)
U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren (IL-14)
U.S. Representative John Shimkus (IL-15)
U.S. Representative Adam Kinzinger (IL-16)
U.S. Representative Darin LaHood (IL-18)
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