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Moroney v. Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Fourth Division

December 12, 2013

JOHN J. MORONEY AND COMPANY, Petitioner,
v.
ILLINOIS PROPERTY TAX APPEAL BOARD, an Illinois Administrative Agency, THE COOK COUNTY BOARD OF REVIEW; SUMMIT SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 104; and ARGO COMMUNITY HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 217, Respondents.

Rule 23 Order filed October 24, 2013

Rule 23 Order withdrawn December 9, 2013

Held [*]

The board of review’s denial of petitioner’s request for a reduction of the assessment of its vacant industrial property was upheld along with the denial of petitioner’s request to submit testimony that the assessor had a policy of issuing assessments based on the vacancy of a building without considering market value, since petitioner failed to establish a policy under which reductions were granted based on vacancy alone and petitioner’s witness had no experience with the internal policies of the assessor or the board of review.

Petition for review of order of Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board, Nos. 05-26920.001-I-3 through 05-26920.002-I-3. Review

Patrick J. Cullerton and Timothy L. Binetti, both of Thompson Coburn LLP, of Chicago, for petitioner.

Anita M. Alvarez, State's Attorney, of Chicago (Patrick T. Driscoll, Jr., Benjamin R. Bilton, and Tatia C. Gibbons, Assistant State's Attorneys, of counsel), for respondent Cook County Board of Review.

Ares G. Dalianis and Scott R. Metcalf, both of Franczek Radelet P.C., of Chicago, for respondent Argo Community High School District No. 217.

Alan M. Mullins, of Scariano, Himes & Petrarca, Chtrd., of Chicago, for respondent Summit School District No. 104.

Lisa Madigan, Attorney General, of Chicago (Michael A. Scodro, Solicitor General, and Valerie J. Quinn, Assistant Attorney General, of counsel), for respondent Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board.

Panel PRESIDING JUSTICE HOWSE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Lavin and Epstein concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

HOWSE PRESIDING JUSTICE

¶ 1 In this appeal, John J. Moroney & Co. (Moroney) appeals the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board's (PTAB) decision affirming the Cook County board of review's (board of review) finding that Moroney's property was not entitled to a property tax assessment reduction in 2005. Because Moroney requested an assessment reduction in excess of $300, 000 before the PTAB, direct administrative review is afforded in this court pursuant to section 16-195 of the Property Tax Code (35 ILCS 200/16-195 (West 2008)), and, therefore, we have jurisdiction to decide this appeal now before us.

¶ 2 On appeal, Moroney argues that the board of review has a policy of granting reductions for vacant property without requiring further evidence concerning market value and condition of the property. Moroney also claims that the PTAB abused its discretion by not allowing its witness to give an opinion that the Cook County assessor (assessor) and/or board of review has a policy of issuing assessments based on building vacancy without regard to the property's market value. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the PTAB's findings.

¶ 3 BACKGROUND

¶ 4 The property at issue here was owned by petitioner John J. Moroney & Co. and consists of two parcels of land totaling 133, 554 square feet located in Lyons Township in Cook County (collectively, the property). The property is improved with a one-story, 63, 840-square-foot masonry industrial building.

¶ 5 On March 15, 2005, Moroney vacated the property. The record indicates that Moroney moved to a different facility and placed the property at issue for sale. In November 2006, the property sold for $2.1 million.

¶ 6 In 2005, the assessor's office and board of review approved a tax assessment of $713, 627 for the property. Moroney subsequently filed a complaint seeking a reduction of the 2005 assessment based on vacancy, which the board of review denied. The board of review's stated reason for its "no change" finding was "failure to comply with the Cook County Board of Review rules and/or failure to provide evidence supporting a decrease."

¶ 7 It is undisputed that in the proceedings before the Cook County board of review, Moroney failed to comply with Rule 21 of the rules of the board of review. Rule 21 of the "Official Rules of the Board of Review of Cook County" states:

"If relief is being sought on the grounds of 'vacancy', the taxpayer shall file:
a. A Vacancy-Occupancy Affidavit; (Occupancy shall include all space actually occupied or for which rent is being paid or is payable, even though the space may actually be vacant) and
b. An affidavit setting forth the duration of, and reason for the vacancy, the attempts made to lease the vacant space with documents such as copies of listings and advertisements utilized in such efforts attached. If no such effort was made, the affidavit must set forth the reason no attempt to rent such space ...

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