Rahm Emanuel Evades Property Tax Burden

Like most former/current Chicago residents, I was pretty astonished that Obama was starting his “change” administration with the quintessential face of Chicago Boss politics, one Rahm Emanual [sic]. It seemed something akin to inviting Al Capone to run the Treasury Department. Well, thanks to my old blogging home Illinois Review, we learn that high-taxing-Rahmy does not believe in paying high taxes himself:

According to the Cook County Assessor’s website, the Chicago home of four-term Democrat Congressman and likely new White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, doesn’t exist. While the address of 4228 North Hermitage is listed as Emanuel’s residence on the Illinois State Board of Elections’ website, there seems to be no public record of Emanuel ever paying property taxes on this home…Why wouldn’t 4228 North Hermitage property owners Rahm Emanuel and wife Amy Rule not pay property taxes?One reason may be because Emanuel and Rule declared their 4228 North Hermitage home as the office location for their non-profit foundation appropriately called the “Rahm Emanuel and Amy Rule Charitable Foundation”. As a non-profit headquarters, they may consider their home as exempt from paying taxes.

I guess the change we can believe to see is “what is good for thee is not for me.”


From the Assessors Office:1) The tax bill IS listed where the Emanuel home is located. They are on two lots.2) By “for tax purposes,” I mean that this is the location associated with the PIN. But it’s the same property.3) Yes, it was inaccurate to say that. Because it is the same house. It was listed in our records — and the Treasurer’s records — under a different address. Had you contacted either office to check this out, we could have told you that.4) It would be highly misleading and irresponsible for you to say that, because we don’t assess property by address – we do it by PIN. And we do it because addresses change and get combined all the time, when owners divide and combine lots. Apparently, with this property, a previous owner had taken three lots and turned them into two.Let me make one further point: Before posting this “story,” neither you nor anybody from the Illinois Review made an effort to contact the Assessor’s office to verify it. As a former newspaper reporter, I find this shocking.Even after learning, when I emailed you at 10:46 this morning, that there were factual problems with the story, you kept it on your web site. Moreover, you deleted my effort to correct the story from the “comments” section. I’d be keenly interested in hearing your justification for this conduct.

The point is, it looks likes perhaps Emanual’s Dealings are above board. But when I consider what my two different tax burdens where in Chicago, it seems a bit low, maybe by a third. The blogger from IllinoisReason.com emailed me to say that “two other homes in the area are tallied at $6800 and $6000respectively… None of those stats is anywhere near the Emanuel’s $13,000.”

The problem is, that 13,000 a year for a $600K+ home is about right. But he is on a double lot. In my mind the relevance of his neighbors is based upon not only the neighborhood, but the inside dwellings, and any upgrades. In other words, what are his other neighbors homes valued at, what is the size of their respective lots, etc. They could all be living in 400K homes, which is about what there tax burden seems to reflect.

Being that the assessor could give such a partisan/emotional response, I wonder as to the likelihood of Emanual getting even a 10% discount. And if he were, that alone would be cause for serious questioning. If I were Emanual (glad I am not- the guy is kind of a jerk), I would right away make sure my appraisal was update and 100% accurate, even if it came down to me paying slightly more.

[Update 2]

Here is an answer provided to me about the one of my points:

The $13,000 assessment would be the same whether it was a single- ordouble-lot valued at 630k because the double-lot only has one PIN.

Still seems amazingly low, and being that it is a 1998 appraisal, it is. Perhaps Emanual should do a new one, and get all his P’s and Q’s in order before the move to 1600 PA Ave.?