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In Re Application of County Treasurer





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. MARTIN F. BRODKIN, Judge, presiding.


Rehearing denied January 26, 1981.

George Mergili (petitioner) filed a petition for issuance of a tax deed on property sold for delinquent taxes. Midwest Concrete Products Company (respondent), a mechanic's lien claimant, filed an answer to the petition. After an evidentiary hearing, petitioner rested and the trial court denied petitioner's application. Petitioner appeals.

The parcel in dispute was sold at the Cook County Collector's sale on November 24, 1976, for delinquent general taxes for 1975. The tax buyer, First Lien Company, assigned its interest to petitioner. On August 21, 1978, petitioner filed a petition and notice for issuance of a tax deed. The notice stated the parcel had been sold for delinquent taxes and the period of redemption from the sale would expire on December 26, 1978. The owners of the property failed to redeem by that date. On January 31, 1979, petitioner filed an application for a tax deed.

Notice of this application was served by petitioner upon the interested parties including the respondent. The respondent had filed a claim for mechanic's lien upon the subject property on March 20, 1975. Respondent objected to the issuance of the tax deed to petitioner.

The current applicable statute (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 120, par. 744) contains a specimen form of notice to be "completely filled in":

"Property located at________________________________ _____________ Legal Description or Permanent Index No_________________________________________________"

The designation and blank space for location of the property does not appear on the notice here. The second designation was set out in the notice. It contained the complete legal description of the property by metes and bounds and the permanent index number. Immediately thereafter, the words "located in the village of Niles, Illinois" were added. As the legal description shows, this property is an irregular parcel of 10 sides.

In denying the issuance of the tax deed, the trial court found the notice of August 21, 1978, was insufficient because "the blank following the words `Property located at' on the statutory notice * * * was not completed" and the legal description and permanent index number of the property did not provide an adequate description.

Paul Peterson, assistant title officer in the Chicago Title Insurance Company, and a title examiner for 8 1/2 years, testified he had examined the parcel in June and August of 1978. It contained four uncompleted and unoccupied buildings. Construction on these improvements had apparently ceased. No street numbers appeared on any of the buildings. There were no streets or curbing on the property. The witness located the property by use of a survey. Peterson testified the parcel was landlocked as shown by the survey received in evidence. No streets abutted upon or were adjacent thereto. To the south there were four completed buildings. To the west there were abandoned concrete foundations. Near the foundations, not contiguous to the parcel in question but to the west thereof, there was a 40-foot strip running north and south that was dedicated as Dee Road on November 2, 1978. This road intersected with Golf Road to the south. The Green Lake Shopping Center is located to the south of the subject property and at the intersection of Golf Road and the strip dedicated as Dee Road.

Paul Peterson further testified he had examined some thousands of mechanic's lien claims. The majority thereof described the various properties by legal description and street address. A number of mechanic's liens were filed against the property involved in the instant case. All of those claims described the property by its legal description. Similarly, the lien claim filed by the respondent described the subject property by the legal description without street address.

It also appeared the permanent index number given to the subject property had resulted from a tax division which had been worked out by the owner of the property with the office of the Cook County Assessor. The division for tax purposes had been made on April 16, 1975. There is also testimony in the record that the subject property, bearing permanent index number 09-10-401-052, may be located on the Sidwell maps kept in the office of the Cook County Clerk. The evidence shows the subject property is located in Niles, Illinois, but it is served by the post office in Des Plaines, Illinois.

In this court, petitioner contends the description of the property in the notice complied strictly with all statutory requirements. It urges no further description was necessary because the notice contained both the legal description and permanent index number and providing a more specific address was impossible and unnecessary.

The respondent, the objector, urges the form of the notice served by petitioner upon the owner and interested parties did not comply with the statutory requirements, as the applicable statute in its present form is ...

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