Democrat Gubernatorial Candidate in Illinois’ Campaign Could Tank Thanks to Toilets

If you are planning to run for state office, don’t try to weasel your way out of property taxes by vandalizing your own toilets. That’s a lesson some of democrat gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker’s opponents say he should have taken to heart based on leaked reports from the Cook County tax appraiser’s officer.

According to the leaked information, which Pritzker says is politically motivated, Pritzker’s wife allegedly requested a contractor render one of the couple’s mansions “uninhabitable” before an upcoming appraisal. The email was subpoenaed as part of a local watchdog investigation. The email indicated Pritzker’s wife “is now getting back into the task of cleaning up 1431 N. Astor” and was planning to “have the house reassessed as an uninhabitable structure.” In order to accomplish this, the contractor suggested pulling all toilets and capping all toilet lines in the house. Once the assessment was completed, the contractor indicated they would “put the first-floor toilet back in and have this as the one functioning bathroom in the place.”

When the house was assessed as uninhabitable, the couple saved $330,000 on property taxes. Cook County inspector general Patrick Blanchard concluded the politician was involved in “obtaining money by means of false representations.” A senior appraiser with the Appraisal Institute, Richard Hager, described the situation as “a classic case of tax fraud.” If a property has been rendered uninhabitable deliberately, then it is not eligible for the tax cuts associated with this designation.

Pritzker announced last week he would pay the Cook County treasurer’s office the $330,000, but he also said he had “followed the rules” for his appraisal. He also noted the information leaked was “an internal, confidential document…that was leaked for political purposes in the last month of a campaign.” His opponent, republican incumbent Bruce Rauner, promptly ran an ad calling Pritzker “the porcelain prince of tax avoidance.” Despite his toilet troubles, Pritzker still leads Rauner in most polls.

What do you think about this tax issue? Do you think Pritzker meant to commit fraud?