Federal lawsuit against Lake County officials over land values dismissed

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against several Lake County officials that stemmed from a dispute over the property-value process.

The assessors in Grant, Cuba, Libertyville, Ela and Vernon townships and seven Lake County property owners filed the complaint in October.

They claimed Lake County Chief Assessment Officer Marty Paulson, Lake County Treasurer David Stolman, the county and the county's board of review violated their civil rights by blocking the township assessors from properly valuing land. They also alleged Paulson wrongly reversed thousands of property value changes they made.

County officials said Paulson reversed those value changes because they had been made illegally by the assessors.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert W. Gettleman dismissed the case last week, saying Paulson and the other defendants didn't violate the assessors' civil rights.

Assessors have no legal right to have the values they set upheld, Gettleman said, and they have no personal interest at risk if their valuations are changed.

Gettleman also said Paulson's reversals properly followed the assessment process.

Additionally, Gettleman ruled the property owners' complaint against Paulson and the other defendants belongs in state court, not federal. The complaint concerns the state's tax process, Gettleman ruled, so it's not a matter for a federal courtroom.

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