Two charged in tax assessment scheme
July 18, 2012 2:12PM
Updated: August 20, 2012 11:50AM
Two analysts for the Cook County Board of Review were arrested Wednesday on federal bribery charges for allegedly accepting $1,500 to reduce property tax assessments on three residential properties, including a Tinley Park condominium.
Thomas Hawkins and John Racasi discussed scheming with others to facilitate property tax reductions in exchange for bribes, but they accepted just one, according to federal prosecutors.
The board of review has three commissioners, each of whom has analysts and other staff who provide recommendations on how commissioners should vote on property tax appeals.
Hawkins, 48, and Racasi, 51, both of Chicago, are charged with accepting a $1,500 bribe. Hawkins, an analyst since December 2004, and Racasi, an analyst since March 2006, were on the staff of an unnamed commissioner in September 2008 when they allegedly took the payoff. They were not charged at the time because of ongoing investigations involving a confidential source, according to the charges.
The informant recorded numerous meetings and phone conversations in which the defendants discussed property tax reductions in exchange for bribes, prosecutors said. They said that along with the condo on Oak Park Avenue in Tinley Park, the two men also discussed reducing the assessment on a home in Burbank.