Airport tenants could be prosecuted for delinquent taxes

  • DuPage Airport tenants who don't pay their property taxes would be at risk of prosecution under a bill headed to Gov. J.B. Pritzker's office desk.

    DuPage Airport tenants who don't pay their property taxes would be at risk of prosecution under a bill headed to Gov. J.B. Pritzker's office desk. Daily Herald File Photo/April 2012

 
 
Updated 5/22/2019 2:18 PM

DuPage Airport Authority tenants who are delinquent paying property taxes could be prosecuted by the state's attorney under a bill approved Tuesday by the Illinois House of Representatives.

The bill now awaits Gov. J.B. Pritzker's signature to become law.

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The legislation was proposed in the wake of a Daily Herald investigation last year that revealed several airport tenants had gone years without paying the required property taxes. The investigation showed seven current and former leaseholders at the airport owed more than $770,000 in back taxes. The county, which owns the airport and appoints an oversight board, had no mechanism in place to force tenants to pay.

Airport authority officials said they never received notices that the tenants' tax bills were overdue. All the lease agreements between the airport authority and its tenants stipulate the tenants are responsible for paying any property taxes.

Because the land the businesses operate on is public property, the parcels can't be sold for back taxes, a risk private landowners face when they don't pay property taxes.

The bill was written so that it only affects the DuPage Airport Authority.

Officials in the Cook County Board of Review said they had checked for similar issues, but found none.

The bill requires the DuPage County treasurer to inform the airport authority board when a leaseholder's property taxes are overdue at least 60 days from the second installment payment deadline.

The Senate approved the bill in early April 55-0. The House vote Tuesday was 111-4.

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