Businessman donates to Cook Co. homeowners as state legislature works on tax bill measure

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Action is being taken in Springfield aimed at extending the grace period for Cook County property tax payments.

The house has passed a bill that would delay a delinquent tax auction that is scheduled on Monday. But that bill has a long way to go with very little time left.

State lawmakers want to give Cook County homeowners more time to pay delinquent tax bills.

Thousands of property owners have been caught off-guard because of a shortened grace period. And Monday is a critical deadline.

In the meantime, a Chicago businessman is still trying to help people pay their bills.

Homeowners openly wept Thursday after hearing Chicago businessman Willie Wilson donate $150,000 to cash-strapped owners.

Wilson planned to loan people money. On Thursday, he gave it away, helping dozens of homeowners pay delinquent property tax bills before a Monday deadline.

"If it weren't for Reverend Willson... I wouldn't be able to keep my house. Rev. Wilson, I just want to say thank you. We need more people like you," said homeowner Judy Mitchell.

"Dr. Wilson... it was a blessing today," said homeowner Kenneth Davis.

"I can tell you that of the 30 years I've been doing this... this has been the best day of those 30 years," said Maria Pappas, Cook County treasurer.

About 46,000 property owners have outstanding tax bills due in 2016. Those delinquent bills go up for auction Monday. A tax-bill buyer could buy that bill, and the homeowner would owe them the tax money plus high interest.

"This is another example of where Springfield has put citizens at risk in their lives, in their homes," said Commissioner Richard Boykin, Cook County Board.

Today, though on the House floor, there was action.

The bill moves Monday's auction to August. Rep. Elgie Sims is the sponsor.

"This gives individuals additional time to redeem their taxes and protect their homes," Sims said.

As Thursday evening, the auction is still happening Monday. The House passed the bill. Next, it goes to the state Senate, which is not in session until Tuesday. And the earliest the vote could be taken is late next week. The governor would still need to sign it, too.


Phone: 773-940-2213

Phone: 312-630-1157

If you're concerned about your property taxes, contact the Cook County Treasurer's Office. You will need your address or your property index number to check the status of your tax bill. You can either go online or call the office's phone number below.


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