Cook County's Stroger a tax deadbeat

The most powerful Democratic organization in the country is headed up by a tax cheat.

Todd Stroger, President of the Cook County Board of Supervisors, and the man who pushed through the largest sales tax in the country, owes the IRS almost $12,000 in back taxes according to this Chicago Tribune report by Hal Dardick:

Cook County Board President Todd Stroger's political problems with taxes hit closer to home Wednesday when a potential primary challenger called on him to stop stonewalling about his failure to pay nearly $12,000 in federal income taxes.

In March, the Internal Revenue Service filed a lien on Stroger's South Side home with the county recorder of deeds for $11,668.10 in taxes Stroger and his wife, Jeanine, apparently failed to pay in 2007.

Stroger spokesman Eugene Mullins issued a statement saying "arrangements were made by the Stroger family to settle the debt." It said Stroger would make no further comment. Another spokesman said Stroger might address it Thursday.

The unpaid-taxes issue surfaced days after Stroger blocked county commissioners' attempt to repeal a penny-on-the-dollar sales tax hike Stroger pushed through last year. With the Democratic primary less than nine months away, one potential Stroger foe called for an explanation.

Commissioner Forrest Claypool (D-Chicago) said the public needs to know whether it's "a legitimate dispute or something more serious.

"He shouldn't stonewall it or act like it is an insignificant matter when the federal government places a tax lien on your home."

Ed Lasky:

No wonder Barack Obama endorsed his candidacy. He seems to have an affection for officials who do not pay their taxes yet feel free to impose sky high taxes on taxpayers who follow the rules.

Like Obama, Stroger chooses to use these taxes to favor allies as well as groups he feels are entitled to them. Stroger "inherited" the job from his father. Stroger fils had been the president for years; he entered the hospital during the primary season; his medical condition was hushed-up and no one chose to challenge him.

At the last minute, he chose not to run. We were told after the elder Stroger died that his son filed just under the deadline, and being a Democrat in Cook County, won the election.

He has been a disaster with hiring scandals as well as increased taxes and incompetency being a hallmark of his reign so far. A reform candidate was endorsed by both Democrats and Republicans but Barack Obama instead endorsed the machine candidate - the hapless and corrupt tax  deadbeat Todd Stroger.

Another Chicagoan, Ethel Fenig, weighs in:

Stroger's sales tax increase gave Cook County the truly dubious honor of having the highest sales tax in the nation thus encouraging some suburbs to talk of seceding from the county.  The latter factually argue they pay more than their fair share of taxes while receiving less than their share of  benefits plus they have lost sales to neighboring counties with lower sales taxes. 

Obama glowingly praised Todd Stroger as "a good progressive" despite allegations of job-rigging to favor members of Stroger's 8th Ward organization. Obama also praised Mayor Daley when he endorsed his re-election as someone who brought "reform" to City Hall. He endorsed a man for Illinois Treasurer, Alexi Giannoulias, whose family owned bank had given loans to mob figures.

So much for ethics. So much for changing government.



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