Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Second Division
In re APPLICATION OF THE COUNTY TREASURER AND EX-OFFICIO COUNTY COLLECTOR for Order of Judgment and Sale of Land and Lots Upon Which All or Part of the General Real Estate Taxes Are Delinquent, Including General and Special Taxes, Costs, and Interest, Pursuant To The Illinois Property Tax Code
William Monroe and Caroline Reed, Intervenor-Appellants). (Alliance Partners, Ltd., an Illinois Corporation, ) Petitioner-Appellee,
from the Circuit Court Of Cook County. No. 14 COTD 002365 The
Honorable Susan Fox Gillis, Judge Presiding.
JUSTICE NEVILLE delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justices Pierce and Mason concurred in the judgment
1 After the circuit court entered an order directing the
county clerk to issue a tax deed to Alliance Partners, Ltd.,
two occupants of the property subject to the deed filed a
petition to intervene, alleging that they received no notice
of the proceedings for a tax deed and asking the court to
vacate the order for a tax deed. We hold that the trial court
abused its discretion when it dismissed the petition to
intervene without holding an evidentiary hearing and the
court erred by dismissing the petition to vacate the order
for a tax deed without an evidentiary hearing. We reverse and
remand for further proceedings in accord with this order.
3 On January 8, 2014, Thomas Soriano purchased a property in
Chicago at a scavenger sale for unpaid taxes. The property
had three commercial units and twelve residential units.
Soriano transferred his interest in the property to Alliance.
On July 2, 2014, Alliance filed a petition for a tax deed to
the property. Alliance served notice of the petition on the
owners, two commercial tenants, and an entity called
"Ross Management, " which Alliance served with
process at an address in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. No one
responded to the petition.
4 On December 11, 2014, Alliance filed an application for an
order directing the county clerk to issue a tax deed for the
property. At the hearing on the application, held January 8,
2015, Judd Harris, an attorney for Alliance, testified that
no one had redeemed the property and the redemption period
had expired. Harris said, "There was a company called
Ross Management that has a sign at the subject property. And
so we directed service to them." He added,
"[W]e also observed that the residential units are
completely vacant in this building. *** [T]he residential
units appeared to be completely vacant when we visited that
5 The circuit court, on February 23, 2015, entered an order
directing the county clerk to issue a tax deed for the
property to Alliance. Two months after the hearing on the
application for a tax deed, on March 9, 2015, Alliance filed
an application for an order of possession for the property.
It sent notice of the hearing on the application to the
owner, the two commercial tenants, and to seven persons
listed as residents of five separate residential units on the
property. Alliance offered no explanation for the conflict
between the notice and Harris's testimony that the
residential units were vacant. On March 27, 2015, the court
entered the order of possession Alliance sought.
6 Alliance did not immediately seek to enforce the order of
possession. On August 4, 2015, Alliance filed a motion to
extend the order of possession. William Monroe and Caroline
Reed, as occupants of the property, came to court to object
to the motion. The court stayed proceedings to allow Monroe
and Reed to seek legal counsel.
7 On September 17, 2015, Monroe and Reed, with the assistance
of counsel, jointly filed a document titled "Petition
for Leave to Intervene Instanter; Motion to Quash Service and
Vacate Order of Possession/Response to Plaintiff's Motion
to Extend the Order of Possession, " seeking relief from
the order for issuance of a tax deed under section 2-1401 of
the Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5/2-1401 (West 2014)).
They alleged that Monroe lived in one unit on the property
and Reed lived in a different unit on the property. Neither
received notice of the petition for a tax deed or the
application for an order directing the clerk to issue a tax
deed. Reed admitted that on March 16, 2015, she received
notice of the hearing on the application for an order of
possession, but she alleged that Soriano, acting as an agent
for Alliance, told Reed that she did not need to attend the
hearing because Alliance would permit all occupants to remain
in the building.
8 Monroe alleged that he received no notice about the
transfer of ownership or the order of possession until July
23, 2015, when an agent working for Alliance sent notice of
new ownership. Monroe alleged that Soriano told Monroe that
Alliance would send him a new lease for his unit.
9 After hearing arguments on the motions, but hearing no
evidence, the circuit court entered an order dated September
18, 2015, in which the court upheld as valid the initial tax
deed and extended the order of possession. The court denied
the petition of Monroe and Reed in all respects, "except
for leave to intervene for arguments made" on the date
of the hearing, September 18, 2015. The court additionally
granted Monroe and Reed leave to file their petition with
signed supporting documents. Only the attorney for Monroe and
Reed had signed the petition, and the supporting documents
bore no signatures. Monroe and Reed did not amend the filed
petition or the supporting ...