Lawsuits, Vacancies, and Back Taxes

Two property owners taken to court by the City at the alderman’s request were recently in the news for failure to pay property taxes.

Last June the City sued Khalid J. Siddiqui, owner of the property at 2904-10 West Devon, for alleged building code violations. Mr. Siddiqui and his co-defendants were not served nor were appearances filed until late 2015 and early 2016. A court hearing is scheduled for May 18 (see Events Calendar on this blog).

It now appears that Mr. Siddiqui may lose his property because of unpaid property taxes  from 2014. The taxes are scheduled to be sold at Cook County’s annual tax sale beginning Friday, June 3, 2016. They remain unpaid at this writing.

Then there’s the long story of the property at 2827-39 West Touhy Avenue, taken to court at the alderman’s request in May 2014, also for building code violations. The alderman invited the community to attend a court hearing in August of 2014, and claimed she was trying to get the property fixed up and rented or sold. The owner, Virginia Koldon, disputed the alderman’s statements, saying that the buildings had been fixed, that she was in the process of selling them, and that the vacancies resulted from (a) an inhospitable economic climate, and (b) a community that did not support them.

Mrs. Koldon also told DNA Info that the situation was “…all political” (Silverstein was up for re-election at the time). In denying Mrs. Koldon’s claims, Silverstein said that the Koldon storefronts were near a “block long of continuous vacant stores” and said she wanted economic development.

The owner of record is now Ephraim Tatelbaum, according to the Cook County Treasurer’s office. The 2014 property taxes were paid after the properties were listed for tax auction (see the 2014 Annual Tax Sale Schedule in the News-Star edition of April 6-12, 2016).

The Touhy properties and the “block long of continuous vacant stores” have not changed since the lawsuit against Mrs. Koldon was dismissed in September 2014. The Siddiqui property also remains vacant.

Under Silverstein’s leadership, economic development in the 50th Ward has continued its decline, and currently lags behind that of every other North Side ward.

Maybe the alderman should try something new. Instead of harassing store owners over vacancies, she might try working with property owners and residents to create the “spirited” economic development plan she promised over five years ago, in 2011, when she challenged Bernie Stone.

The neighborhood has waited for it long enough.






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