Dist. 214 candidate pays up after claiming two exemptions
Kevin Lindell, a Northwest Suburban High School District 214 school board candidate, has paid the Cook County assessor $1,627.20 in additional real estate taxes after claiming two homeowner exemptions over two years in violation of state law, documents show.
Lindell, who claimed an exemption for a home in Des Plaines and one in Mount Prospect in 2012 and 2013, said he was made aware of the issue this month and has paid both the taxes and accrued interest to correct it.
"It's just an oversight that simply did not get caught by my wife or I," Lindell said. "It was an error on our part, not a malicious error, just an error."
Maura Kownacki, spokeswoman for Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios, said the office was made aware of the violation through an anonymous source and sent Lindell a notice March 4 of the intent to place a lien on his property.
By law, Illinois residents can claim only the exemption on their primary residence. The exemption lowers a property's assessed value and therefore the amount of taxes owed.
"Up until recently, there was no recourse to hold taxpayers responsible in situations where erroneous exemptions were discovered," Kownacki said. But a new law proposed by Berrios allowed the county to bill nearly $14 million in 2014 and collect about half that, she said.
Lindell and his family live in Mount Prospect but were unable to sell their Des Plaines home during the recession and instead rented it out, he said.
Lindell said he is concerned that the same anonymous source who notified the assessor's office is now attacking his character.
A mailing that reads, "Kevin Lindell cheated on his property taxes for years. Now he wants control of the school board and your tax dollars" recently went out to homes in Mount Prospect.
"I have no idea who is behind this. I know the other candidates and they are all above board so I don't believe they would do this," Lindell said.
The postcard also contains photos and addresses for both houses, which he said is worrisome.
"My family feels hurt about this," he said. "I'm doing this for the betterment of the community and to try to give back, and this is the type of response I get. It's very disappointing."
Lindell is running against incumbents Dan Petro, Bill Dussling and Alva Kreutzer in the April 7 election. Three seats are available.