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Trump Tower's Assessment Was Slashed By 70%

Chicago
Trump International Hotel and Tower received a 70% reduction of its property tax assessment after a law firm headed by Ald Ed Burke (14th) took up the property's appeal.

It pays to have friends in high places, especially when it comes to saving boatloads of cash on property taxes. Few know that as well as presumptive GOP presidential nominee and real estate magnate Donald Trump, who received a 70% cut to the assessment on Trump International Hotel and Tower, which erased a tax delinquency owed to Cook County.

The last-minute reduction in the assessment came courtesy of Ald. Ed Burke (14th). The longest-serving alderman on City Council also runs a property tax firm which has saved Trump $14.1M in Trump Tower property taxes, through property tax appeals, between 2009 and 2015, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

But the Trump-Burke relationship also highlights how the assessment and appeals process can be easily co-opted by politics. Burke isn't the only local politician who runs a property tax appeal shop. And Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios also chairs the Cook County Democratic Party who previously served on the County Board of Review which hears many property tax appeals rejected by the Assessor's office. It's worth noting the assessments in question occurred before Berrios assumed office.

Trump could see an even bigger cut in his property taxes. Trump Tower's assessment was split (as required by law) so that the hotel and condo/retail components were taxed separately. The split was not handled correctly by the Assessor's office. [S-T]