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Dome Tax Services Co. v. Weber

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Third District

September 10, 2019

DOME TAX SERVICES COMPANY, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Steve WEBER, in His Official Capacity as the Treasurer of Will County, Defendant-Appellee.

Page 1122

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 12th Judicial Circuit, Will County, Illinois. Circuit No. 16-MR-1985, The Honorable John C. Anderson, Judge, presiding.

         Mark S. Morthland, of Decatur, for appellant.

         James W. Glasgow, State’s Attorney, of Joliet (Philip A. Mock, Assistant State’s Attorney, of counsel), for appellee.

          Panel JUSTICE McDADE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Schmidt and Justice Lytton concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

         McDADE, JUSTICE.

         [434 Ill.Dec. 597] [¶ 1] In December 2012, plaintiff, Dome Tax Services Company (Dome), purchased a property in Homer Glen, Illinois, in a tax sale. In January 2015, the property owners filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and, subsequently, filed a motion for declaration of sale in error. The trial court entered an agreed order declaring the sale of the property was in error as a result of the bankruptcy filing, and Dome received a refund on the amount paid on the certificate of purchase and subsequent taxes from defendant Will County Treasurer. In July 2016, Dome filed a complaint for declaratory judgment, arguing that the treasurer miscalculated the refund. The parties later filed cross-motions for summary judgment. The trial court ruled in favor of the treasurer and against Dome, finding that the treasurer properly calculated the refund. Dome appeals, and we reverse for a recalculation of the refund.

         [¶ 2] I. BACKGROUND

         [¶ 3] On December 6, 2012, Dome purchased 16424 S. Alberta Court in Homer Glen, Illinois, in a tax sale. The purchase included the property’s unpaid 2011 taxes. On September 24, 2013, Dome paid the 2012 property taxes and on September 22, 2014, paid the 2013 property taxes.

         [¶ 4] On January 8, 2015, the property owners, Paul and Katherine Kirchner, filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. On July 24, the couple filed a motion for declaration of sale in error pursuant to section 21-310 of the Property Tax Code (35 ILCS 200/21-310 (West 2014)). The court entered an agreed order declaring that the sale was in error as a result of the bankruptcy filing. On September 17, 2015, defendant, Will County Treasurer, issued two checks to Dome refunding the amount paid on the certificate of purchase and the subsequent 2012 and 2013 property taxes. The first check was in the amount of $78,783.83 and the second check was in the amount of $12,111.21, totaling $90,895.04.

         [¶ 5] On July 29, 2016, Dome filed a complaint for declaratory judgment, arguing that the treasurer miscalculated the interest on his refund in violation of section 21-315 of the Property Tax Code (id. § 21-315) and that it was entitled to an additional $3000 in interest. The treasurer filed a motion for summary judgment, alleging that the interest was properly calculated under sections 21-315 and 21-320 of the Property Tax Code (id. § § 21-315, 21-320). The treasurer explained that Dome purchased the 2011 property taxes on the

Page 1123

[434 Ill.Dec. 598] Homer Glen property after a bid for redemption at a penalty of 1% for six months. Dome then paid the 2012 and 2013 property taxes at a statutory rate of 12% for six months of each year. After the court entered the agreed order, the treasurer calculated Dome’s refund as the following: the amount paid for the certificate of purchase with penalty interest at the rate of 1% per month, or 6% for six months, totaling $29,099.15; the amount paid on the 2012 taxes with interest at a rate of 1% per month from the purchase date to the date Dome was notified of the bankruptcy, totaling $31,906.16; and the amount paid on the 2013 taxes with interest at a rate of 1% per month from the purchase date to the date Dome was notified of the bankruptcy, totaling $29,889.74.

         [¶ 6] Dome filed a cross-motion for summary judgment, arguing that the treasurer was statutorily required to calculate all the interest under the same statutory formula and requested that the refund be recalculated. The trial court ruled in favor of the treasurer and against Dome, finding that the treasurer ...


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