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M.f.m. Corp. v. Cullerton

DECEMBER 20, 1973.

M.F.M. CORPORATION, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

PATRICK J. CULLERTON ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. FRANCIS T. DELANEY, Judge, presiding.

MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE MCNAMARA DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT UPON THE DENIAL OF THE PETITION FOR REHEARING:

Rehearing denied February 14, 1974.

Plaintiff filed suit in the chancery division of the circuit court of Cook County charging that in 1971 its real estate was subject to a constructively fraudulent assessment. The trial court subsequently allowed plaintiff's motion to amend its complaint to include the 1972 assessment. Upon trial, the court at the close of plaintiff's case granted defendants' motion for judgment. Plaintiff appeals.

The real estate in question is located at 2607-59 South LaSalle Street in the City of Chicago. It is improved with a three-story brick and concrete factory warehouse building. The building was used as a newspaper printing plant until 1962. In 1967 after a period of vacancy, the property, in a deteriorated and vandalized condition, was purchased by plaintiff's predecessor in title for $175,000.

On December 1, 1968, plaintiff purchased the property for $316,000, including the costs of the construction work then being done. The purchase was made in order to rent part of the building to plaintiff's manufacturing business, Economy Folding Box Company. Economy negotiated with the seller for leasehold improvements at a cost of $80,400, said sum being added to the purchase price. Plaintiff has made no improvements, changes or alterations to the property since the purchase.

Economy entered into a 15 year lease with plaintiff at a yearly rental of $37,200 during the first ten years and an increase of $1,200 a year during each of the following five years. Economy occupied only the first two floors and sublet the third floor at a monthly rental of $2,625.

The 1967 assessed valuation of the quadrennium 1967 to 1970 was $118,575. In 1969, the Assessor raised the assessed valuation of the property to $430,433 and carried the valuation forward into 1970. Plaintiff filed suit and by order entered November 1, 1971, the 1969 taxes were reduced to $11,900 and the 1970 taxes were reduced to $12,996.06, based upon an assessed value of $118,575. In 1971, before the outcome of the aforementioned litigation, the property assessment was carried forward at $414,561 for the quadrennium of 1971 to 1974. When the Board of Appeals affirmed the Assessor's evaluation, plaintiff filed the present complaint.

Plaintiff in its complaint charged that defendants knew that the market price of the property was $316,000. Plaintiff further alleged that defendants had ignored the actual cash value of the property, the uniform percentage application of such value, and the statutory limitations of assessment in certifying the valuation of $414,561.

At trial plaintiff introduced the Assessor's cards for the property for the years 1969 and 1971. The 1969 card was as follows:

"Land $ 54,029 Improvements-reproductive cost total $640,341 376,404 ________ $430,433 Sales price per audit — Land and Bldg. $250,000

spent $150,000 necessary repairs * * *"

The 1971 card was as follows:

"Land $ 41,750 Improvements-reproductive cost total $640,341 372,811 ________ Total valuation $414,561"

Defendants' sworn answers to certain interrogatories propounded by plaintiff also were introduced into evidence. The following ...


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