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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Cook leaders want property tax exemption crackdown law

Fraud legislation
Crook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Assessor Joe Berrios on Tuesday urged state lawmakers to give them more power to go after property owners who improperly claim tax breaks, saying they could recover more than $150 million in three years with the new authority.
Under legislation pending in Springfield, counties could go after back taxes from people who have wrongly received homestead exemptions. The tax break should only be applied to a property owner's primary residence, but people often also claim it for rental properties, vacation homes and secondary residences. Other property owners get inappropriate property tax reductions for being a senior citizen, disabled person or disabled veteran.
People who claimed multiple improper homestead exemptions also would be fined a percentage of their unpaid taxes, and the county could place liens on the properties to try to compel property owners to pay up.
A similar measure stalled in Springfield last year, which Berrios blamed on pressure from real estate agents and landlords who oppose the plan. The assessor also said the previous version of the bill got weighed down by unrelated proposals that got attached to it during the legislative process.
“This bill is a stand-alone,” Berrios said at a news conference, explaining why he's optimistic the new version will pass.
Based on the number of exemption cheats he said he has found to date, Berrios estimated $154 million would be returned to the county, school districts and the like during the first three years the plan was in effect.
Last October, the Tribune found numerous examples of public officials collecting improper homestead exemptions. And they were just a few examples among thousands of taxpayers who have benefited — intentionally or otherwise — from tax breaks they are not entitled to receive, the newspaper disclosed.
Preckwinkle described it as a matter of fairness. “Residents have to bear the financial burden when their neighbors wrongfully take property tax exemptions, so this legislation is about leveling the playing field,” Preckwinkle said.
The latest version of the measure has passed the House, and Berrios said he's working with Senate President John Cullerton to build support.
Assessor spokeswoman Kelley Quinn said Berrios also is working with lawmakers to introduce a plan to let senior citizens apply for their property tax exemption every three years instead of requiring them to do so each year.
Seniors used to automatically get the exemption, but the General Assembly changed the law in 2010 to require them to reapply each year. A plan Berrios endorsed to make the senior exemption automatic once again stalled in the House last year, in part because House Speaker Michael Madigan did not support it.
jebyrne@tribune.com
Twitter @_johnbyrne
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Assessor Joe Berrios on Tuesday urged state lawmakers to give them more power to go after property owners who improperly claim tax breaks, saying they could recover more than $150 million in three years with the new authority.
Under legislation pending in Springfield, counties could go after back taxes from people who have wrongly received homestead exemptions. The tax break should only be applied to a property owner's primary residence, but people often also claim it for rental properties, vacation homes and secondary residences. Other property owners get inappropriate property tax reductions for being a senior citizen, disabled person or disabled veteran.
People who claimed multiple improper homestead exemptions also would be fined a percentage of their unpaid taxes, and the county could place liens on the properties to try to compel property owners to pay up.
A similar measure stalled in Springfield last year, which Berrios blamed on pressure from real estate agents and landlords who oppose the plan. The assessor also said the previous version of the bill got weighed down by unrelated proposals that got attached to it during the legislative process. “This bill is a stand-alone,” Berrios said at a news conference, explaining why he's optimistic the new version will pass.
Based on the number of exemption cheats he said he has found to date, Berrios estimated $154 million would be returned to the county, school districts and the like during the first three years the plan was in effect.
Last October, the Tribune found numerous examples of public officials collecting improper homestead exemptions. And they were just a few examples among thousands of taxpayers who have benefited — intentionally or otherwise — from tax breaks they are not entitled to receive, the newspaper disclosed.
Preckwinkle described it as a matter of fairness. “Residents have to bear the financial burden when their neighbors wrongfully take property tax exemptions, so this legislation is about leveling the playing field,” Preckwinkle said.
The latest version of the measure has passed the House, and Berrios said he's working with Senate President John Cullerton to build support.
Assessor spokeswoman Kelly Quinn said Berrios also is working with lawmakers to introduce a plan to let senior citizens apply for their property tax exemption every three years instead of requiring them to do so each year.
Seniors used to automatically get the exemption, but the General Assembly changed the law in 2010 to require them to reapply each year. A plan Berrios endorsed to make the senior exemption automatic once again stalled in the House last year, in part because House Speaker Michael Madigan did not support it.

Wildebeast trys to pull fast one on Illinois Lottery but landed her dumb ass in the 26th & Cali. Zoo

Elgin woman claims record lottery jackpot, gets criminal record instead


An Elgin woman tried to cash in on the record $656 million
Mega Millions jackpot with a ticket she bought online eight minutes after the winning numbers were drawn, officials said today.

Leandria Williams, 28, was initially charged with wire fraud last week for falsifying documents. She has now been charged with attempted theft and forgery, according to the Cook County sheriff's office.
An investigator from the Illinois Department of Lottery contacted the sheriff's office on April 4 after Williams came into the lottery claims office in Des Plaines and said she had a winning ticket for the Mega Millions jackpot drawn on March 30, officials said.

The ticket bore the winning numbers, but records showed only three Mega Millions winners and none of those tickets were from the Chicago area, officials said.

Lottery logs showed Williams' ticket was produced shortly after 10 p.m. on March 30, eight minutes after the winning numbers were drawn. Williams also produced an email receipt that was altered, officials said.

Lottery officials told Williams she had to complete a claim form that would be sent to Springfield for verification. Williams filled out the form and submitted her fraudulent documents, officials said.

Lottery officials and police met with Williams on April 16 and she was arrested. Officials said today that Williams' scam was the first of its kind in Illinois.

MAY DAY MAY DAY I am going to be the first of protesters to be arrested

Recent May Day marches in Chicago have been largely sedate affairs by labor and immigration groups, but Occupy demonstrators want to turn up the volume today as they -- and authorities -- tune up for the May 20-21 NATO summit. Check here for updates as we follow the march.

Protestors try to block door to Bank of America 10:52 a.m.
About 10 vocal protesters are blocking the door at the Bank of America building off and on, with a few uniformed police periodically moving them away.
The group briefly tried to enter, but left an ATM lobby after the inner door was locked.

Officers on bicycles have arrived. "The calvary is here!" one protester shouted.


Occupy protesters chant about Bank of America getting federal benefits. (E. Jason Wambsgans, Chicago Tribune)
About 40 protesters are telling the media they're moving to 201 S. State. Before starting to disperse, they chanted about Bank of America getting federal benefits: "The banks got bailed out and we got sold out!"

One man on the corner wore a mock security uniform with a badge that said "we are the 99 percent." He said he was keeping order among the group and told one man to tear up a sign that said "(expletive) the police."

"I like to resolve issues. I will get rid of the problem if there is one. We want a clean protest," said Tony Norris.

Other protesters were simply identifying themselves as "99"

A Must watch Finally we have a black man speaking truth

http://www.mrctv.org/sites/default/files/embedcache/111546.html

Preckwinkle wants to eliminate unincorporated areas in Cook County - UNREAL! Highest sales tax in the country and they can't afford these areas!

This was brought to from the above blogger

Funny Cook County has more than enough money to hand out to illegal beaners and the welfare breeders...but God forbid the county actually has to take care of the 98,000 working tax paying people in the unincorporated areas....
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle wants to accelerate efforts to do away with unincorporated areas over the next several years, saying today that the county can no longer afford to provide services for the 98,000 residents that live in those patches.

Instead, Preckwinkle wants nearby towns and villages to annex the county’s 62 square miles of unincorporated land into their borders, leaving those municipalities to pick up the cost for police protection, animal control and other key services.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL PATHETIC NEWS STORY


Thanks Detective for the heads up

Secret Service is hiring, Qualifications must be singal and a porn star



Washington (CNN) -- The acting inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security is launching a separate investigation into the Secret Service prostitution scandal.
The "field work is beginning immediately," acting Inspector General Charles Edwards said in a statement issued Monday.
The DHS review is in addition to an internal probe the Secret Service is already conducting as well as a military investigation into U.S. troops linked to the controversy.
The development comes as Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan faces a pair of deadlines Tuesday to answer dozens of questions about the issue.
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King, R-New York, submitted 50 questions to Sullivan, while House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and Rep. Elijah Cummings, the panel's ranking Democrat, have 10 questions they want answered, including a precise time line of exactly what happened in Cartagena.

The incident in Cartagena is troubling because Secret Service agents and officers made a range of bad decisions," they said.
Issa and Cummings also sent a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta requesting details of the military investigation by May 8.
The incident last month before President Barack Obama's trip to the Summit of the Americas in Colombia involved Secret Service and U.S. military members who allegedly consorted with prostitutes.
Twenty-four people have been linked to the scandal: 12 from the Secret Service and 12 from the military.
In their correspondence to Panetta, Issa and Cummings said security personnel showed an "alarming lack" of "character" and "judgment."
Nine of the Secret Service members have resigned or are being forced out, and three others were cleared of serious misconduct, while a separate military investigation has yet to announce any measures against the members allegedly involved.
The U.S. Southern Command expects to finish questioning the 12 military personnel early this week before forwarding its findings to military lawyers for review, and then to Gen. Douglas Fraser, commanding general of the U.S. Southern Command, a Defense Department official said Monday.
On Friday, the Secret Service distributed new rules for its agents on assignment intended to prevent a repeat of such alleged misconduct, according to two government sources familiar with the resulting investigation.
Called Enhanced Standards of Conduct, the new guidelines given to all Secret Service personnel make clear that standards of behavior required in the United States apply on missions abroad, the sources said.
Effective immediately, the new standards require detailed briefings before each trip that will include safety precautions and any necessary designations of establishments and areas that are "off limits" for Secret Service personnel, the sources said.
Also in the new standards, foreigners are banned from Secret Service hotel rooms at all times, except for hotel staff and host nation law enforcement and government officials on official business, according to the officials, and all Secret Service personnel are prohibited from going to a "non-reputable establishment."
The new standards specify that U.S. laws apply to Secret Service personnel when traveling, rendering invalid the excuse that specific activity is legal in the foreign country, the officials said.
In addition, the new guidelines allow moderate alcohol consumption when off duty, but prohibit alcohol consumption within 10 hours of reporting for duty or at any time when at the hotel where the protected official is staying, the officials explained.
An additional supervisor from the Office of Professional Responsibility will now accompany the "jump teams" that bring vehicles for motorcades and other transportation, the officials said. Agents involved in the Colombia incident were part of such a jump team.
Allegations of further transgressions by agents have emerged after the initial reports of heavy drinking and consorting with prostitutes last month before Obama arrived in Cartagena.
Recent claims include an account from El Salvador described by CNN affiliate Seattle TV station KIRO as very similar to the Colombia scandal, involving members of the Secret Service and other government agencies.
The KIRO report cited an unnamed U.S. government contractor who worked extensively with the Secret Service advance team in San Salvador before Obama's trip there in March 2011.
The source said he was with about a dozen Secret Service agents and a few U.S. military specialists at a strip club in the city a few days before Obama arrived. The men drank heavily at the club, and most of them paid extra for access to a VIP section where they were provided sexual favors in return for cash, the source told the station.
The station reported that the strip club's owner corroborated the allegations. The owner confirmed that a large number of agents, and some military escorts, "descended on his club" that week and were there at least three nights in a row, KIRO reported.
The owner said his club routinely takes care of high-ranking employees of the U.S. Embassy in San Salvador as well as visiting agents from the FBI and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, KIRO said.
The government contractor source said he told the agents it was a "really bad idea" to take the strippers back to their hotel rooms, but several agents bragged that they "did this all the time" and "not to worry about it," KIRO reported.
Panetta said Thursday that his department is not investigating any of its troops over the reported incident in El Salvador. But the State Department is questioning its embassy staff in El Salvador about the allegations, spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Thursday.
The Drug Enforcement Administration also is prepared to look into, "in an appropriate manner and immediately," allegations that it deems "credible" regarding its agents in El Salvador, agency spokesman Rusty Payne said. But he added that, while the DEA has seen news reports, "we are unaware of any allegations of misconduct."

Sarge's A.P.B. From C.P.D.Cops search for girl, 17, missing from Northwest Side

Anita Ramirez

Police were searching for a 17-year-old girl who may be pregnant and went missing from the city's Kilbourn Park neighborhood.

Anita Ramirez was last seen on the 4100 block of West School Street. She texted her mother between 3 to 3:30 a.m. and told her she was not returning home because she did not agree with the house rules, police said.

Anita was recently hospitalized for suicidal tendencies and needs to be reevaluated. She may also be pregnant, police said.

Anita may be on her way to a boyfriend who lives in Melrose Park. Both of the teens are into the Gothic scene, police said.

Police described her as white Hispanic, with a medium complexion, brown eyes and black hair with brown and pink strands. She is 5 feet 1 inches tall and weighs 120 pounds.

She was wearing black rimmed glasses and multiple earrings, police said.

Anyone with information on her whereabouts should contact police at 312-744-8266

Pedifile Fugitive ex-priest to remain free after alleged victim withdraws from child sex assault case



Cook County prosecutors said Monday that they are ending their decade-long effort to extradite a Roman Catholic priest who fled to India shortly before he was charged with 20 counts of criminal sexual assault and abuse of a 16-year-old Chicago girl.

The Rev. Sleeva Raju Policetti has maintained his innocence since abruptly leaving Chicago in 2002, and in India he has waged a protracted court battle against efforts to extradite him to Chicago to face trial.

Policetti's alleged victim initially worked with authorities, setting in motion an international extradition that required the approval of top officials from the U.S. State and Justice departments and India's Ministry of External Affairs.

But in recent days she told First Assistant State's Attorney Shauna Boliker that she no longer wished to pursue the case, effectively forcing prosecutors to drop it.

"With any case, our victims' wishes, No. 1, are foremost in our minds," Boliker said. "We need her cooperation and participation. ... This is a decade later and a different time of her life."

In coming days the state's attorney's office will notify the Justice Department that it is withdrawing arrest warrants for Policetti in Chicago and India, Boliker said.

The collapse of the case offers an example of how an opaque and slow-moving international extradition system can derail justice, leaving suspects accused of serious crimes free when they find haven in foreign lands.

Similar years-long delays have undermined other international fugitive manhunts, the Tribune found in an examination of more than 100 cases from the Chicago area and thousands of others nationwide. In some instances, witnesses died or disappeared, making the cases impossible to prosecute.

Policetti, now 53, could not immediately be reached for comment Monday. The assaults allegedly took place over a year in the rectory of St. Tarcissus' Parish on Chicago's Northwest Side, where Policetti was assigned as an extern priest.

He is one of at least 32 Roman Catholic priests nationwide since 1985 who have absconded to foreign countries while facing criminal charges or investigations related to allegations that they sexually assaulted or abused youths in the U.S., the Tribune investigation found. Only five have been returned to face trial.

More than two dozen other Catholic clergy members went abroad or were transferred to foreign countries by church authorities while facing internal church inquiries or civil allegations of child sex misconduct, the Tribune found.

In March, fugitive priest Joseph Jeyapaul was arrested in India after seven years on the run from charges that he sexually assaulted a 14-year-old Minnesota girl. That arrest came roughly a week after Jeyapaul's case was highlighted by the Tribune. Jeyapaul is still in India and resisting extradition in court, according to attorneys involved in the case.

Like Jeyapaul and many other international fugitives traced by the Tribune as part of its "Fugitives From Justice" investigation, Policetti returned to his hometown near Hyderabad in southern India and did little to conceal his identity or whereabouts.

Though the Tribune found that an initial two-day delay by the Chicago Archdiocese in reporting the child sex assault allegation may have given Policetti time to plan his escape, records also show that top church officials here and in India pressed hard for Policetti's return and expressed fury at his alleged crimes and his continued ability to evade justice.

In 2008, after a canonical trial, the Vatican took the rare and severe step of defrocking Policetti over the sexual assault allegations, meaning he is no longer a priest. Still, Policetti continued to use the title of "Reverend," and as recently as 2010, he sent Chicago parishioners greeting cards soliciting donations, saying he ran an orphanage and school near Hyderabad, the Tribune found. Priests also sometimes call him to fill in at church functions, Policetti said in an interview from New Delhi published in March.

The archdiocese reached an out-of-court settlement with Policetti's alleged victim, a person with knowledge of the case confirmed. The church declined to disclose details out of respect for her privacy. An attorney for the alleged victim did not respond to requests for comment.

"From the outset, the Archdiocese of Chicago has supported and cooperated with efforts by the Chicago Police Department and the Cook County state's attorneys to bring this case to justice," saidJohn O'Malley, legal services director for the archdiocese.

"Those of us at the archdiocese who are involved in reporting abuse and dealing with its tragic consequences respect the judgment of the victim/survivor about final disposition, including prosecution," he said. "The archdiocese continues to reach out and work for the healing of all those affected by the tragedy of child and adolescent sexual abuse."

Lathrop 1 we have recieved reports that the homes are on National Registery

Calling all CHA Officer's need to report for duty.










For more than six years, residents, preservationists and community advocates have been pushing to save the Lathrop Homes from demolition and to rehabilitate the public housing complex.

Their efforts got a boost Monday when state officials announced that the site has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

"I am so happy about this," said Mildred Pagan, a Lathrop resident who also serves as vice president of the local advisory council. "We have been fighting for so long. We want the buildings to stay. It would be better to preserve this place than to build brand new."

The listing does not automatically preserve Lathrop's collection of low-rise brick buildings and ample green space, officials said. But it makes the site eligible for federal tax credits and financial incentives. The designation also triggers a review by state historic preservation officials if federal or state funds are used to demolish the site.

The Chicago Housing Authority said it would continue to work with state historic preservation officials, but it stopped short of committing to save all of Lathrop's distinctive architecture.

Built in the 1930s, Lathrop Homes were once celebrated because of their vibrant mix of residents, rich history and ornamental touches rarely found in public housing. Lathrop Homes were designed by architects like Robert S. DeGolyer and Hugh M.G. Garden, who were out of work because of the Great Depression.

In recent years, the 925-unit complex has become a battleground over the CHA's plan to transform the homes into a mixed-income development. As of January, 170 units in the complex were occupied.

Residents at Lathrop, neighbors and community activists don't want the complex razed like so many CHA properties that have been demolished, but would prefer to see the property restored.

Despite the uncertainty, preservationists were pleased with the announcement by the Illinois State Historic Preservation Agency.

"Lathrop is a very unique complex," said Jonathan Fine, executive director of Preservation Chicago. "It's really an idyllic complex, and for that reason alone, it should be preserved."

Although the complex has become run-down, it still features brick archways that lead into parks, playground and public areas.

For More Women, Ladies’ Night Out Includes Time At The Shooting Range

Dianne McGrath has taken up shooting as a hobby, and she finds it relaxing. (CBS)


CHICAGO (CBS) — More and more women are buying guns and learning how to use them. In fact, a 2011 Gallup poll found that 43 percent of women say there’s a gun in their household, and 23 percent of women say they personally own a gun.
But as CBS 2′s Mai Martinez reports, you might be surprised to find out that it’s not just for protection.
Dianne McGrath used to spend her free time painting or doing needlework. But now her favorite pastime is shooting — something she thought she’d never do.

In fact, until last year, McGrath had never even touched a gun. It was her husband who encouraged her to learn to shoot for her own protection.
“You know, painting, needlework, guns. I don’t see what the problem is. It’s a really good progression,” she says of her new hobby. “It’s just another fun thing to do.”
McGrath says she’ll always remember the first time she fired a gun.
“It was a .22. I picked it up and I think I shook so bad I think the bullet went anywhere but where it was supposed to go,” she says, laughing.
But McGrath got better, and she was hooked. Now she says going to the range is actually more relaxing than needlework.
Firearms instructor and competitive shooter TD Roe says that’s not surprising to hear.
“It’s something that men have done for years and years, and now women are just coming out and doing it,” says Roe, who adds that any woman can learn to shoot.
 
“We had one lady in a class say ‘This was always on my bucket list,’ and she was 80 years old,” Roe says.
No matter what their age, Roe says many women start with an interest in protecting themselves. But then they’re drawn to the sport-side of shooting.
That’s what happened to Janelle Pitula, who recently qualified as a marksman.
“I learned how to use it initially for home protection. But the sports of it actually does also teach you how to use it in a defensive manner,” she says.
Owners of several gun shops in the Chicago area say they’ve seen more women buying guns over the past couple of year, and they’ve noticed women also like the idea of taking classes to learn how to use guns safely.
That growing female interest in guns is not going unnoticed. Gun dealers and manufacturers are cashing in on the new wave of shooting enthusiasts with merchandise marketed directly to women, including pink guns, pink ear muffs and pink gun cases, among other things.
Ladies’ Night events at gun ranges are also becoming more common place. Article II in Lombard says theirs are a big hit.
Roe says that may be because more women are realizing they actually have an advantage over male shooters.
“Women actually have a great sense of touch,” she says. “If they can learn to strengthen their hands, women are actually better shooters to start than men.”
The next “Ladies’ Night” at Article II in Lombard is Saturday May 12 from 5pm until 8pm.
If you’d like more information on Ladies’ Night event or on gun safety classes, click here.