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People v. Reinhardt

AUGUST 8, 1964.

PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS EX REL. COUNTY OF ST. CLAIR, ILLINOIS, ET AL., PETITIONERS,

v.

LEONARD O. REINHARDT, AS COUNTY TREASURER, ETC., ET AL., RESPONDENTS.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of St. Clair County; the Hon. RICHARD T. CARTER, Judge, presiding. Affirmed in part and reversed in part.

WRIGHT, JUSTICE.

This cause was instituted in the Circuit Court of St. Clair County, Illinois, by various taxing bodies situated in said county, their respective treasurers and certain taxpayers of said district (as petitioners) against Leonard O. Reinhardt, as County Treasurer and ex officio County Collector of St. Clair County, Illinois. Petitioners requested that Leonard O. Reinhardt, as County Treasurer and ex officio County Collector of St. Clair County, Illinois, be required by Writ of Mandamus to distribute to the treasurers of the taxing districts of St. Clair County their just and proper distributive portions of all real estate taxes paid under protest for the year 1959 and all prior years and all personal property taxes paid under protest for the year 1959 and all prior years, all accruals to said protested taxes and all personal property taxes for years subsequent to 1959 on which timely petition had not been filed in accordance with the applicable statute.

Leonard O. Reinhardt, as an individual; Daniel F. Ring, as an individual and as the successor to Leonard O. Reinhardt, as County Treasurer and ex officio County Collector of St. Clair County, Illinois, and Maryland Casualty Company, the surety on the official bonds of both Reinhardt and Ring, requested and were granted leave to intervene.

Leonard O. Reinhardt, as County Treasurer and ex officio County Collector and individually; Daniel F. Ring, as County Treasurer and ex officio County Collector and individually; and Maryland Casualty Company, a Corporation, filed their counterclaim for Declaratory Judgment against all of the original petitioners, as individuals and as representatives of the class consisting of all other taxing districts in St. Clair County and against the remaining respondents, Illinois Central Railroad Company, Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis and Union Electric Company, individually and as representatives of the class consisting of all other taxpayers in St. Clair County who had paid their general real estate or personal property taxes under protest.

On motion of the intervenors (counterclaimants) the court entered an order severing the counterclaim from the action pending on the petition for a Writ of Mandamus and fixed a date for a hearing on the counterclaim.

The section for Declaratory Judgment seeks a determination of the following questions: (1) When should the County Collector distribute to the various taxing districts real estate and personal property taxes which have been paid under protest? (2) What are the rights and duties of the County Collector to invest such protested taxes pending final distribution to the parties entitled to receive them? and (3) Who is entitled to the interest which has been earned and accrued by reason of the collector's investment of the protest tax funds?

The record discloses that the County Collectors of St. Clair County have uniformly withheld from distribution to the various taxing districts all real estate and personal property taxes paid under protest for which a formal written objection or petition for refund has been timely filed in the County Court pending the determination of the validity of the protested taxes and the entry of a final order of court directing the refund or distribution of the protested taxes.

Upon instructions from the Board of Supervisors of St. Clair County, Illinois, the predecessors of Mr. Reinhardt transferred the protest tax funds to time deposit accounts earning interest. During his term in office, Mr. Reinhardt renewed and added to such deposits and Daniel F. Ring, the successor to Mr. Reinhardt, has continued that practice. All of the interest earned and accrued on the protested tax funds has been held in a segregated account by the County Collector and none has been distributed.

This cause was tried before the court, without a jury, and at the conclusion of the evidence, the court entered an order directing the County Treasurer ex officio County Collector of St. Clair County, Illinois, as follows:

(a) Continue to withhold until final judicial determination so much of the real estate taxes of each taxpayer which are paid under protest as is attributable to the illegal rate or valuation specified in the protest and in substantiation of which an appropriate, timely objection is filed in the County Court.

(b) Distribute to taxing bodies entitled thereto, real estate taxes paid under protest if a timely objection is not filed and such distribution shall be made when the order of the County Court granting judgment becomes final.

(c) Continue to withhold until final judicial determination so much of the personal property taxes of each taxpayer which are paid under protest until and if a petition is filed by the taxpayer in the County Court within one year after such payment.

(d) Distribute to the taxing bodies entitled thereto, personal property taxes paid under protest if a timely petition is not filed.

(e) In his discretion make short term deposits, as described, in chapter 120, section 673-a, ...


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