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  1. #12556

    Re: Politics Random Random

    Quote Originally Posted by Ti-Amie View Post

    Blacks weren't magically equal to whites when the Civil War amendments were passed. Sharecropping, "separate but equal" and other forms of official political/social/economic oppression kept Blacks down for another 100+ years.
    Ah yes. Like when the Homestead Act gave land to people, and an amendment to it specifically made sure to include Blacks so that they could become landowners. There were a host of problems in practice, and I know this is shocking, but there was rampant discrimination in handing out plots of land, with plenty of blacks getting untillable land. My, let's see, I think it would be my maternal great great grandparents were given their "40 acres and a mule" of land in North Dakota that ended up being rocky and couldn't be farmed for crops.

    There is SO much crap that doesn't get talked about during the period after the Civil War up to the Civil Rights Act, but there is enough well known that is completely racist and inexcusable like "separate but equal" and Jim Crow laws that it is genuinely shocking when you see someone try to act like ish been all good since 1865.

  2. #12557

    Re: Politics Random Random

    I cannot get this thread to unroll properly, possibly because it contains court filing links in each one. So posting this as best as I can. This is basically a reporter that read through and summarized the filing of the DOJ case against California Rep. Duncan Hunter.

    Brad Heath
    Verified account

    The Justice Department wants a judge to prohibit Rep. @Rep_Hunter from "offering evidence or argument concerning alleged political biases or motives of the prosecution team" or making other comments that could "poison the pool of potential jurors."
    Rep. Hunter, a Republican, says his prosecution by the Justice Department, currently run by Republican appointees of President Trump, is the "deep state" and was trying to "rig the election their own way."
    President Trump, a Republican, previously criticized his attorney general, also a Republican, for allowing the prosecution of two Republican congressmen.
    DOJ basically says @rep_hunter should raise his allegation of political bias properly, in a motion to dismiss, or shut up.
    The Justice Department filed a notice saying Rep. Duncan Hunter illegally used campaign funds to pay for "intimate" encounters with several women, and prosecutors want a judge's permission to tell jurors about those romances.
    DOJ says @rep_hunter took a lobbyist skiing near Lake Tahoe, and charged it to his campaign. Prosecutors said their relationship "blossomed beyond a mere friendship." They say he even charged the campaign for his $7 Sam Adams when he arrived in Tahoe.
    DOJ says Hunter took the unnamed lobbyist on a "double date road trip" to Virginia Beach with another member of Congress. He charged the campaign for their hotel room and bar tab.
    DOJ says Rep. Hunter used campaign money to take another woman, a House aide with whom he had been intimate, for drinks. Then he charged the campaign $21 for an Uber back to his office at 1:49 a.m.
    DOJ says Rep. Hunter billed his campaign $42 for an Uber after he engaged in "intimate personal activities" with a lobbyist at her D.C. area home. "That night," prosecutors wrote, "was not about business."
    DOJ says Rep. Hunter billed his campaign for an Uber in 2016 after he spent the night at the home of yet another Washington lobbyist, "where they engaged in intimate personal activities unrelated to Hunter's congressional campaign."
    DOJ says there's other "sensitive conduct,", but they don't want to say what it is, other than that it's "clearly non-work related activity during get-togethers with his close personal friends" and that it could potentially taint the jury pool if revealed.
    Meanwhile, @rep_hunter wants a court to throw out the charges against him because two officials in the U.S. Attorney's office attended a Hillary Clinton fundraiser in 2016 and wanted a photo with her.
    The argument for why that requires dismissal is ... thin. He argues he was prosecuted in retaliation for endorsing Trump, but in support of that, he argues only that two AUSAs on the case appear to have supported Clinton.
    Rep. Hunter also argues that lying on campaign disclosure forms might maybe be a crime, but that should be up to the FEC, and it's definitely not obstruction, because that would chill "the First Amendment rights of every member and candidate for Congress."
    And DOJ says Rep. Hunter, despite drawing a $170,000 salary as a congressman, was basically broke. "So little compunction did they feel about stealing to make ends meet, they began to use campaign funds for such basic expenses as cigarettes, gasoline and groceries."
    "Intimate personal activities unrelated to Hunter's congressional campaign" is easily among the best euphemisms for "sex" that I've seen in a court filing.

  3. #12558

    Re: Politics Random Random

    Related to the story above. If you don't watch Last Week Tonight regularly on HBO (versus what the show makes available on YT), then you may not have seen John cover some of this last week. At that point the wife had flipped on him. Now with reports of at least five mistresses, I think we can guess why she did. This is in poor focus, but it's still up, they might be allowing it because of that reason. You'll still get the idea. Go to the 1:02 mark to watch this story.

  4. #12559

    Re: Politics Random Random

    Family values.
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb

  5. #12560

    Re: Politics Random Random

    Peter Baker
    ‏Verified account

    Trump says citizenship has to be asked on the census to determine congressional districts. Actually, districts are drawn up based on total population, not the number of citizens, a practice upheld by the Supreme Court as recently as 2016.

    Ted Lieu
    ‏Verified account

    More Ted Lieu Retweeted Peter Baker
    Pleased @realDonaldTrump has made it even harder now to include the citizenship question on #Census2020. Drawing congressional districts based on "citizens," rather than "persons," is unconstitutional. Trump has now stated the real reason, and that reason is unconstitutional.
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb

  6. #12561

    Re: Politics Random Random

    Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts’ property tax appeal under investigation after Tribune finds assessment problem
    Hal Dardick
    JUL 09, 2019 | 6:48 AM

    This photograph submitted by Todd Ricketts' attorney for a property tax appeal shows an old house that's since been torn down. It's half the size of a new home Ricketts built to replace it. (Cook County Board of Review records)

    For nearly a decade, Chicago Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts has lived in a 5,000-square-foot North Shore house nestled on a meticulously landscaped lot complete with a Japanese-style garden.

    It’s a showcase Wilmette home a short walk from Lake Michigan. But it’s not the home that Ricketts, who also is finance chairman of the Republican National Committee, has been paying taxes on.

    Instead, records show, Ricketts pays property taxes based on the value of the much older and smaller house that he tore down to make way for the new one, providing him with a huge discount likely totaling tens of thousands of dollars over the years.

    State law required Ricketts to notify the assessor that he had built a new home in 2010, but a spokesman for the assessor’s office said there’s no record that Ricketts ever did.

    In 2013, Ricketts’ attorney had a chance to tell Cook County tax officials about the new home during a property tax appeal but instead sought a reduction based on the age and size of the old house, according to documents the Tribune obtained through an open-records request. The paperwork included a photo of the century-old home that had been demolished.

    After the Tribune asked about the discrepancy, the assessor’s office said it would take a look at Ricketts’ home and recalculate how much it’s worth for tax purposes. And the county Board of Review, which considered the 2013 property tax appeal, said it had launched an investigation.

    Ricketts declined to be interviewed and did not answer a list of questions the Tribune submitted via email. Spokesman Brian Baker issued a statement.

    Todd Ricketts' 5,000-square-foot house in Wilmette, shown June 27, 2019. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)

    ”When Mr. Ricketts purchased property in Wilmette more than 10 years ago, he filed all necessary paperwork to build a new home," the statement reads. "Later, he retained a real estate attorney to assist with issues regarding his real estate taxes and assumed everyone involved had the correct information. If a mistake was made, he will work in good faith to fix it.”

    The tax attorney, veteran Chicago lawyer James FortCamp of Seyfarth Shaw, did not return a message seeking comment or respond to a list of emailed questions.

    Michael Cabonargi, a Democratic Board of Review commissioner, said Ricketts should repay “the property tax relief it now appears he was not entitled to."

    “By not paying his fair share, Mr. Ricketts shifted his property taxes to other homeowners," he added.

    The fact that the underassessment of Ricketts’ property went undetected by tax officials for nearly a decade illustrates long-standing problems in a county assessment system experts say is deeply flawed. In the case of Ricketts’ house, the problem spans 12 years — from the time the old house was razed — and three county assessors.

    New Trier Township officials say they notified the assessor’s office that a building permit had been issued for Ricketts’ new home, which should have triggered an inspection. But the assessor’s office said it has no record that it ever received the information and said no inspection was done.

    Property tax experts say such failures are not uncommon. When those errors occur, affluent homeowners end up paying less than their fair share — shifting the overall tax burden onto other property owners.

    Even as Ricketts and his wife — anti-tax and free market advocate Sylvie Légère — benefited from the property tax savings, Légère wrote to Wilmette school board officials lamenting the village’s high property tax burden and urged them to avoid another increase.

    Ricketts is a member of a billionaire family that secured an $8.5 million county historic renovation property tax break for its rehab of Wrigley Field. That project also is in line to receive more than $100 million in federal tax credits. Ricketts is one of four siblings on the Cubs board of directors. His brother, Tom Ricketts, is board chairman.

    The house

    In 2006, Ricketts and Légère bought a nearly 100-year-old, 2,500-square-foot house along a leafy Wilmette street. They paid nearly $1.5 million for the property, just down the street from where Tom Ricketts lived at the time, county records show.

    Nearly a year later, Todd Ricketts and Légère bought the house next door to the one they already owned. It was smaller — 1,625 square feet — and on a lot half the size, but it gave the couple room to build a new, bigger house and still comply with Wilmette zoning codes. The neighboring property cost $869,000.

    The couple then had both homes torn down, as they made plans to start construction of their new dwelling, which was designed by noted architect Dirk Denison and high-end custom homebuilder Altounian Construction.

    Plans submitted to Wilmette officials show the couple was building a contemporary two-story house of about 5,000 square feet. The plans also included an 800-square-foot garage and extra outdoor parking spaces on a manicured lot with outdoor patios and a koi pond. The house was completed in February 2010, village records show.

    The village approved the building permit in September 2007 and sent the details to the New Trier Township assessor’s office, said Lisa Roberts, Wilmette’s assistant community development director. That November, the permit details were sent to the county assessor, said Leonard Shifflett, the deputy New Trier Township assessor.

    But county assessor’s office records include no indication the building permit notification was ever received, said Scott Smith, a spokesman for Assessor Fritz Kaegi, who took office late last year.

    “We are not aware of any written correspondence to the office regarding the improvement," Smith said.

    When such data arrives downtown, it’s supposed to trigger an inspection by the assessor’s office. But no inspection of the new home was ever done because the office hadn’t received the records to indicate it was necessary, Smith said.

    Inspections are key to the valuation process. They help document a new home’s characteristics that are used to determine its assessed value.

    The assessed value, in turn, is used to determine the size of the property tax bill. The more valuable the home, the higher the bill. In Ricketts’ case, his bill would have gone up significantly.

    The three biggest factors in determining a home’s value are its location, its square footage and its age, said David Merriman, a University of Illinois at Chicago professor of public administration who’s an expert on property taxes. Ricketts’ current home is far newer than the one it replaced, and about double the size, so it should have been assessed at a much higher value, Merriman said.

    The assessor, however, continued to value Ricketts’ new home as if it were still the old home. For this year’s bill, Ricketts’ property was valued at $993,500, resulting in a tax bill of about $22,800.

    So what would Ricketts’ property tax bill be if his home were properly assessed? Kaegi’s office will make that determination in the coming months, but Ricketts’ neighbor provides a basis for comparison.

    The house next door to Ricketts is slightly smaller, at about 4,700 square feet. The lot is also slightly smaller. And the neighbor’s house is much older, at 79 years compared with nine years for Ricketts’ new house.

    Despite that, the assessor valued the neighbor’s house about 34% higher than Ricketts’ new house — at nearly $1.35 million. Ricketts’ neighbor received a tax bill this year of nearly $31,200.

    If Ricketts’ house were assessed more in line with the value of his next-door neighbor’s — a conservative estimate — Ricketts would have paid at least $8,000 more in property taxes this year. Ricketts has been underassessed for nine years, but it’s difficult to hit the total button due to changes in assessments and tax rates over the years.

    The example of the next-door neighbor tracks with Merriman’s estimate of what Ricketts’ new house could be valued at for tax purposes. “Clearly, the new house should have been paying a lot higher property taxes,” Merriman said.

    The appeals

    There was a chance in 2013 for tax officials to find out that Ricketts’ old house was still being used as the basis for property assessments instead of the new home. But that didn’t happen.

    Ricketts’ properties had been reassessed that year, and FortCamp, Ricketts’ attorney, filed an appeal with the county Board of Review asking to lower the assessment on both the property that contains the new house and the adjoining property that contains the side yard.

    FortCamp noted that the side yard had been assessed as though a home were still there, but the house had been razed and the land was now vacant, meaning its value was significantly less.

    FortCamp also argued that the property containing the Ricketts’ house should have its assessment cut, citing what he said were other similar houses in the neighborhood that had lower assessed values per square foot.

    In his appeal paperwork, FortCamp told the review board that the Ricketts’ house was 96 years old and was 2,534 square feet. That, however, is the age and size of Ricketts’ old house, not the new one that had been completed three years earlier. In addition, the photo of the house FortCamp submitted with his appeal was of the Ricketts’ old house that had been torn down, not the new home.

    Based on the materials that FortCamp submitted, the review board lowered both the value of the side yard and the property with the Ricketts’ home. That resulted in a relatively small property tax savings for Ricketts.

    The Tribune asked the review board about the appeal, and it issued a statement: “In 2013, Todd Ricketts, through his attorney, presented evidence to the Board of Review that appears was outdated and inaccurate. Upon becoming aware, the Board of Review began an investigation into the appeal and the evidence.”
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb

  7. #12562

    Re: Politics Random Random

    And these people criticize the Taliban?!

    Mississippi Today

    Republican gubernatorial candidate Rep. Robert Foster denied @thisislarrison, a woman reporter for Mississippi Today, access to a campaign trip ride along. Foster's campaign director told her she would need to be accompanied by a male colleague. #MSElex

    Robert Foster

    More Robert Foster Retweeted Mississippi Today
    Before our decision to run, my wife and I made a commitment to follow the “Billy Graham Rule”, which is to avoid any situation that may evoke suspicion or compromise of our marriage. I am sorry Ms. Campbell doesn’t share these views, but my decision was out of respect of my wife.
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb

  8. #12563
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    Re: Politics Random Random

    So god can bring people back to life and make diseases mysteriously disappear, but she's not big enough to keep you from cheating on your wife... Good to know...

  9. #12564

    Re: Politics Random Random

    Quote Originally Posted by Ti-Amie View Post
    Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts’ property tax appeal under investigation after Tribune finds assessment problem
    This story made me laugh. Two things. More pictures, then a comment.

    These are the previous homes that were torn down.

    This is the new house.

    This contemporary home near the lake in Wilmette? LOL! I know those neighbors were all kinds of put out when this went up and I'd put my money on one of them dropping the dime on them. An outdated assessment isn't that unusual, but on a newly built home and one that has an appeal and misleading information they provided definitely is. Wilmette is in New Trier Township. New Trier is the single best funded public school district in the entire country with the highest per student spend. Seriously, they are a freaking posh private school masquerading as a public school and that's where a ton of the very high taxes go. Since they are basically a feeder school and nearby, I have many friends and classmates from this area. Contemporary, especially this boldly modern, does not remotely fit the architecture in the neighborhood, I know plenty of neighbors were pissed when it was being built.

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