Power Structure Turns Back Riverside-Brookfield School District 208 Electioneering Lawsuit

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CHICAGO—The president of Taxpayers United of America (TUA) condemned the unresponsiveness of the legal system in Illinois, which denied an appeal by taxpayers who sued Riverside-Brookfield Sch. Dist. 208 for illegal electioneering.
“It’s mindboggling the extent to which local judges protect the status quo, even in the face of convincing evidence that a local government-school district engaged in illegal electioneering in trying to pass a property tax increase referendum,” said Jim Tobin, TUA President.
Representing homeowners, TUA had joined with Anthony J. Peraica & Associates in appealing the decision of Judge Leroy K. Martin’s July 17, 2012 ruling, in which he dismissed with prejudice their lawsuit against Riverside-Brookfield Sch. Dist. 208.
Plaintiffs Peraica and TUA had charged that the school district used illegal electioneering in its failed attempt to pass a property tax increase referendum in the April 5, 2011 election.
The appellate court affirmed Judge Martin’s dismissal of the lawsuit on Oct. 31, 2013.
“While we are disappointed in the appellate court’s decision, we were successful in defeating the April 5, 2011 property tax increase referendum despite the shady tactics of Sch. Dist. 208,” said Tobin.
“Our efforts on behalf of taxpayers against devious school districts led to the most important reform legislation in the 97th Illinois General Assembly: SB3314, introduced by St. Sen. Don Harmon (D-39 Oak Park), which was the direct result of the lawsuits filed by TUA against Oak Park D-97 and Wilmette D-39 school districts for using ballot language that purposely mislead taxpayers by understating by 300%, the property tax increase resulting from passage of a referendum. SB3314 makes this practice of duping voters illegal.”

Wilmette School District 39 Fails To Provide Evidence That Its April 2011 Referendum Ballot Language "Followed Illinois Law"

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Herbert Sorock
(847) 251-8955 (h)
WILMETTE, IL –Wilmette School District 39 has failed to substantiate its December 3, 2012, claim in a media release that its April 2011 referendum ballot language “correctly followed Illinois law as it existed at that time.”
On January 18, 2013, Sorock submitted a written Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the District, asking for all materials “supporting, explaining, or justifying” its claim that the April 2011 referendum ballot language “followed Illinois law as it existed at that time.” The District responded to Sorock’s FOIA request with only one document—a draft version of its December 3, 2012, media release showing that one of the District’s attorneys—Ares G. Dalianis— had inserted the claim language into the release.
Sorock, along with Taxpayers United of America (TUA), had sued the District to reverse tax increases that were a result of illegal ballot language in an April 2011 referendum election. In November 2012, Sorock and TUA asked the First District Appellate Court to dismiss their suit due to the earlier reluctance of the courts to enforce the clear requirements of Illinois property tax law.”
“At the December 28, 2012, District 39 Board of Education meeting, I challenged the District to substantiate its ‘followed Illinois law’ assertion, and later followed up with a FOIA request for any information that would have supported their claim,” said Sorock. “It is now clear that the District is unable to do so. As TUA and I demonstrated in our lawsuit, the required calculation of an individual’s property tax increase was understated by more than a factor of three.
“The District has continued to blame TUA and me for the costs associated with defending the District’s April 2011 referendum language. Now that we know conclusively that the District itself allowed legally non-forming language to be placed on the ballot, the District should not look to blame those who uncovered the error, but instead those who made the flawed calculation of the tax impact in the first place,” Sorock concluded.
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Wilmette School District 39 Continues to Mislead Public, Cover Up Illegal Ballot Language

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WILMETTE, IL – Despite a recent change to the property tax code that clarifies how property tax increases are calculated, Wilmette School District 39 is choosing to continue its campaign to mislead residents over the illegal ballot language they used in a recent referendum that underestimated tax increases by more than a factor of 3.
Monday, District 39 issued a media release that mischaracterized the effect of Public Act 97-1087, which modified the Illinois Property Tax Code to explicitly include the effect of the State Equalization Factor, by saying that it “…reinforced that the District’s ballot language correctly followed Illinois law as it existed at that time.”
Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the Act itself refers to its purpose as “clarification” of the very same language that Sorock’s lawsuit challenged, and insists, as did Sorock, that the State Equalization Factor must be used for tax increase calculations.
Sorock, along with Taxpayers United of America (TUA), had sued the District to reverse tax increases that were a result of illegal ballot language in an April 2011 referendum election.
“The District has all along defended its ballot language by asserting that the State Equalization Factor was not to be used,” said Sorock. “Now we have clear-as-day proof that the state legislature agrees with our position, but the District is choosing once again to cover up its miscalculation.”
While TUA recently filed a motion to voluntarily dismiss the lawsuit given the reluctance of the courts to enforce clear requirements of Illinois law, Sorock is heartened by Public Act 97-1087’s clarification.
“Rather than vindication for the District, the changes made by Public Act 97-1087 demonstrate that TUA and I were absolutely correct in challenging the referendum ballot for its failure to conform to requirements of Illinois law. TUA and I knew the District’s ballot language was illegal eighteen months ago; that the District still claims otherwise defies common sense and strains credulity.”
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Taxpayers United Of America: (TUA). is a nonpartisan, 501(c)(4) taxpayer advocacy group. Founded June 27, 1976 in Chicago, Illinois by activist and economist Jim Tobin, TUA works on behalf of taxpayers to reduce local, state, and federal taxes. In the past forty years, TUA has saved taxpayers more than $200 billion n taxes and has become one of the largest taxpayer organizations in America. Check All posts. s.


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