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10/05/88 In Re Application of the County Treasurer and Ex-Officio

October 5, 1988

IN RE APPLICATION OF THE COUNTY TREASURER AND EX-OFFICIO


APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, THIRD DIVISION

COUNTY COLLECTOR OF COOK COUNTY (Edward J. Rosewell,

Applicant-Appellee, v.

Twin Manors West of Morton Grove Condominium Association,

Objector-Appellant)

529 N.E.2d 1104, 175 Ill. App. 3d 564, 125 Ill. Dec. 28 1988.IL.1502

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Michael J. Murphy, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE FREEMAN delivered the opinion of the court. WHITE, P.J., and RIZZI, J., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE FREEMAN

Objector-appellant, Twin Manors West of Morton Grove Condominium Association (Twin Manors), appeals from the trial court's granting of a motion for summary judgment in favor of applicant-appellee, Edward J. Rosewell, the Cook County collector (collector). On appeal Twin Manors asserts that the collector assessed certain real estate at a disproportionately higher rate than comparable real estate located in the same township as the subject property, in violation of the equal protection of the law.

Twin Manors defines the underlying issue of the instant appeal as what is the proper geographic area in Cook County for purposes of proving a violation of equal protection in real estate tax matters. Twin Manors contends that the proper geographic area is the township. We hold that the proper geographic area is the county and affirm the judgment of the circuit court.

The record indicates the following. Twin Manors is a condominium association which represents the 33 homeowners/taxpayers who comprise the Twin Manors condominium association. The real estate is located at 7730 Dempster Street, Morton Grove, Illinois. The collector filed the annual application for order of judgment and sale against real estate returned delinquent for the year 1981, and for judgment fixing the amount of tax paid under protest. Twin Manors filed a specific tax objection pursuant to section 235 of the Revenue Act of 1939 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 120, par. 716), alleging that the 1981 real estate assessment and taxes are constructively or actually fraudulent. After discovery and pretrial conferences, the collector filed a motion for summary judgment. A hearing was held, and the circuit court entered its order granting the collector's motion for summary judgment and fixing the amount of the objector's real estate taxes for the year 1981.

At the hearing, the parties presented evidence indicating the following. Cook County is divided into 38 townships. The townships are grouped into four assessment districts (quadrants). Twin Manors' real estate is located in Maine Township, which is a part of district 2, the northwest quadrant of the county. Each year the county assessor reassesses one of the districts. In 1981 the assessor performed a quadrennial reassessment of district 2.

Under section 20c-1 of the Illinois Revenue Act of 1939 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 120, par. 501c-1), condominiums which are owner-occupied as residences for a minimum of six months during the year are assessed on the same basis as single-family residences. According to the Cook County Real Property Assessment Classification Ordinance (Cook County Real Property Assessment Classification Ordinance §§ 2, 3 (1980)), single-family residences are categorized as class 2 and are assessed at 16% of fair market value.

The 1981 real estate assessment of the subject property was $402,701 and the real estate tax was $59,152.95. Twin Manors calculated, based on the 16% level of assessment provided for in the ordinance, that the condominium units were valued by the county assessor based on a market value of $2,516,881 ($402,701 = 16% of $2,516,881). Twin Manors itself valued the units at $2,688,000 as of January 1, 1981, based on sales of the units during the time period from 1977 to 1981. By comparing the market value it found ($2,688,000) with the market value calculated from the assessment amount ($2,516,881), Twin Manors calculated that the condominium units were assessed at approximately 94% of market value.

Twin Manors presented the results of three studies which allegedly show that other residential property within Maine Township was assessed at only 60% of market value. The first study indicates that the assessor assessed other condominiums located in Morton Grove at 10.78% of market value or 67% of full value. The second study analyzes the 459 sales used in the State of Illinois Department of Revenue 1981 Sales/Ratio Study. This study shows that of 459 class 2 parcels sold in Maine Township in 1980, only nine were assessed at the 16% level of assessment or higher, while the remaining 450 parcels were assessed at a level of assessment lower than the 16% ordinance level. The third study analyzes the sale of 178 single-family homes and condominiums located in Morton Grove during 1981. Of these properties, none was assessed at the ordinance level of assessment. The highest level of assessment was 14.89% of market value, and the median level of assessment was 10.77%.

Twin Manors also pointed to the Illinois Department of Revenue's "Assessment/Sales Ratio Study Findings 1981" publication, which concludes that the median level of assessment for class 2 property in Maine Township for 1981 was 10.51% of market value. Twin Manors calculated that its own property was assessed at ...


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