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Kiwanis International v. Lorenz

OPINION FILED SEPTEMBER 22, 1961.

KIWANIS INTERNATIONAL, APPELLANT,

v.

FRANCIS S. LORENZ, COUNTY TREASURER ET AL., APPELLEES.



APPEAL from the Superior Court of Cook County; the Hon. JOHN F. BOLTON, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE SCHAEFER DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

This is an action by Kiwanis International, an Illinois not-for-profit corporation, to enjoin officials of Cook County from taking steps to collect the 1958 and 1959 taxes on the corporation's real property at 101 East Erie Street, Chicago. After a hearing the superior court of Cook County dismissed the complaint for want of equity. The revenue is involved, and the case was appealed directly to this court.

The question is whether the property is exempt from taxation under sections 19 and 19.7 of the Revenue Act of 1939. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1959, chap. 120, pars. 500, 500.7.) These sections provide for the exemption of "all property of beneficent and charitable organizations * * * when such property is actually and exclusively used for such charitable or beneficent purposes, and not leased or otherwise used with a view to profit; * * *." The property in question is improved with a building which is the main office of the corporation and there is no suggestion that it is "leased or otherwise used with a view to profit."

Kiwanis International is concerned with the affairs of the 4,753 individual Kiwanis clubs in the United States and abroad. It was organized in 1918 and its charter was amended to adopt its present name and corporate purposes in 1930.

The original charter provided that the purposes of the corporation should be:

"1. To standardize and disseminate Kiwanian principles of fair dealing and practices and the observance of the Golden Rule.

2. To encourage, promote and supervise the organization of Kiwanis Clubs.

3. To study the work of the existing Kiwanis Clubs and their value to members and communities.

4. To promote the spirit of fraternalism among members and clubs.

5. To discuss and study the Science of business building.

6. To promote and encourage the living of the Golden Rule in private, civic, social and business life."

A new set of purposes was adopted at a convention in 1924, and in 1930 the charter was amended accordingly to enumerate the following purposes;

"1. To give primacy to the human and spiritual, rather than to the ...


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