CHICAGO – Illinois Republicans criticized Democratic governor candidate J.B. Pritzker on Monday for getting a nearly $230,000 reduction in property taxes for a Chicago mansion the billionaire bought next to his multimillion-dollar home.
Pritzker let the nearly 6,400-square-foot historic house fall into disrepair then appealed his 2015 property tax assessment, saying the home is “uninhabitable,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported. The Cook County assessor slashed the home’s value from $6.25 million to about $1.1 million, reducing his taxes 83 percent.
The Illinois Republican Party held a news conference Monday in front of the home, where former party Chairman Pat Brady accused Pritzker of engaging in a “con job” that took much-needed money from Chicago Public Schools and social services. He noted the home is in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the U.S., and said Pritzker has more than enough money to pay the full amount.
Asked about the reduction during a radio show appearance, Pritzker said he did the same thing that some 50,000 Cook County property owners do each year, and that most people get their taxes slashed. He also said he appealed only once in the nine years he has owned the property and that “the big challenge here” is property taxes all over Illinois are too high.
His campaign spokeswoman pointed the finger at Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, who largely funds the state GOP.
“Bruce Rauner is once again choosing to focus on politics rather than doing his job of being Governor,” Galia Slayen said.
Pritzker’s campaign also said Rauner appealed the assessment of his condo overlooking Chicago’s Millennium Park. But it was Rauner’s condo association that appealed and the request was denied.
The Cook County assessor’s office based the decision to reduce the value of Pritzker’s property based on an appraisal done by a company he hired, although appraisers were not allowed inside the home because of security concerns.
According to documents that lawyers for Pritzker submitted to the assessor’s office, the home – which the Pritzkers bought for $3.7 million – has “no functioning bathrooms or kitchen” and the toilets have been disconnected.