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Crime & Courts

Kingston Township assessor pleads not guilty to forgery charges

SYCAMORE – Embattled Kingstown Township Assessor Jennifer Cleveland pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges related to an unexplained reduction in the assessment of the home of one of her sons.

Cleveland, 49, of the 34700 block of Glidden Road, is charged with forgery, official misconduct and failure of a local assessment officer to perform duties. If convicted of either forgery or official misconduct, she could face two to five years in prison, and that any prison sentence would be followed by a year of parole. She also would be ineligible to hold office under Illinois law.

Illinois State Police allege in DeKalb County court records that on Aug. 25, Cleveland filed a request to reduce the assessed value of her son’s newly purchased property in the 8700 block of South Rood Road in Kingston, and also filed two requests to reduce the assessed value of the property because of destruction to the property.

Police said Cleveland signed the former property owner’s name on the documents, which were filed Sept. 21 and Oct. 23, according to the records.

A lengthy comment from Cleveland’s Facebook account on an earlier Daily Chronicle story Nov. 21 included an admission that Cleveland had lowered the assessed value of the Rood Road property.

“I know we are all paying high taxes and I do not believe it is right either,” the comment read. “I help people the best I can. I made a very bad choice and have brought more embarrassment to my family.”

Cleveland was elected Kingston Township assessor in April 2013, running unopposed. She was re-elected in April, again without an opponent. She posted $200 bail Nov. 21, records show.

Cleveland is due back in court at
9 a.m. April 30.

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