He and his wife bought an old 2,500 square foot house several years ago, knocked it down and built a new, much larger house on the lot. Due to what appears to be some governmental inefficiency, the county department which gave Ricketts the permit to build his larger house did not forward the paperwork to the tax assessor, so Ricketts kept being assessed at the lower rate for many years.
Which, hey, that happens. And even as a bleedin’ lefty commie, I can acknowledge that that’s on the government. There’s a law that requires people to say when they think their assessment should go up but, c’mon, people really should not be expected to run downtown and say “wait, I think I owe you more money!” Ricketts would have no recourse if the county figured it out and asked him for back taxes, of course, but I think we all agree that we’d probably wait to be told that our tax bill was going up if we were in his shoes.
Except there was one additional problem here. Ricketts, through his lawyer, later tried to get his tax reduced even more by claiming that he still had the old, smaller house:
In 2013, Ricketts’ attorney had a chance to tell Cook County tax officials about the new home during a property tax appeal but instead sought a reduction based on the age and size of the old house, according to documents the Tribune obtained through an open-records request. The paperwork included a photo of the century-old home that had been demolished.
Say what you want about Todd Ricketts and his lawyer, but they are not lacking in chutzpah. Now, of course, they’re likely not lacking in an investigation as to whether they’ve committed tax fraud or something like it. At the very least the lawyer is going to be in hot water, ethically speaking.
As the Tribune notes, Ricketts, his siblings and his father, who co-own the Cubs together, are not new to the “taxes for thee but not for me” game:
[The Ricketts] family that secured an $8.5 million county historic renovation property tax break for its rehab of Wrigley Field. That project also is in line to receive more than $100 million in federal tax credits.
Those are fine, presumably, as those taxes are apparently being paid by other people.