The Burton Foundation owns the land adjacent to Emma’s Landing. James “Iceberg” Bergman (15) James Bergman | LinkedIn purchased that land for $650,000 in June of 2021, but the tax bill was mailed to the Burton Foundation. The land had been owned by the person listed on Emma’s Planned Unit Development and with her name recorded with the Kane County Recorder as the owner/applicant of the Emma’s Landing PUD. This was fraudulent. She was neither the PUD owner nor the PUD applicant. The City of Geneva was both. The City applied to itself for a PUD using a surrogate as a Trojan Horse. Only an owner can apply for a PUD per the Geneva Municipal Code. Without the adjacent $650,000 parcel, there was no access to the PUD. Without the PUD the $650,000 sale almost certainly would not have occurred. Who got the $650,000? You guessed it: the fraudulently certified and recorded faux applicant. Oh sure, some post facto “correction” of the PUD was clumsily “recorded” by the Mayor without the required authorization from the Council. But by then, the swindle had already been perpetrated.
You are correct if you get the sensation that smoke and mirrors were in play here and that the City of Geneva started the smoker and was holding the mirrors. Remember the “donation/discounted sale” flip-flop that the Illinois Housing Development Authority “missed” with a “wink and a nod”? Above is the 2021 property tax bill for the $650,000 parcel. Just to show how simple this is: 1) The parcel was purchased (actually an option to purchase) by Iceberg Bergman; 2) The 2021 Tax Bill was sent to ELA LLC C/O Burton Foundation; 3) The sole manager of ELA LLC is Emma’s Landing GP, LLC; The sole manager of Emma’s Landing Group LLC is The Burton Foundation, a 501c3 Tax-exempt Corporation. The sole employee of the Burton Foundation is Tracy Manning, President, with a 2020 compensation of $183,615. see: 2020-363839126-202112849349301306-9.pdf (guidestar.org). The Chairman of the Board of Burton Foundation filed for personal bankruptcy in 2015 see: Case 15-80195 Doc 1 Filed 01/28/15 Entered 01/28/15 16:00:59 Desc Main Document Page 1 of 60.
Genevan’s can rest assured that each member of the City Council, performing his or her due diligence to meet their fiduciary responsibilities to Geneva taxpayers, knew all this. They also knew that Tracy Manning’s husband was the project builder and cost estimator for the Emma’s Landing project. (Remember her “he gets a paycheck” testimony?) The Council also knew that Manning’s application for LIHTC funds certified that no identity of interest was present among and between the principles, such as between the principal sponsor (Mrs. Manning-Fellhauer) and the builder (Mr. Fellhauer). The Council also knew that when identity of interest is properly declared, an independent, disinterested third party must perform the cost estimate. The Council also knew, according to HUD postings, that shenanigans with cost estimating are a common source of fraud in LIHTC-funded affordable housing. GAO-18-637, Low-Income Housing Tax Credit: Improved Data and Oversight Would Strengthen Cost Assessment and Fraud Risk Management
Back to the adjacent parcel owned by Burton Foundation through a daisy chain of semi-opaque LLCs. The 2021 market value of the adjacent parcel was pegged at a “fair cash value” of $222,000. But below is an entry at the bottom of the 2021 tax bill:
The Assessor knew that his assigned “fair cash value” was about 1/3 of the actual market value. The Geneva City Council determined that this was not a problem since the rest of the taxpayers would be forced to make up the difference, and they did without a whimper. School District #304 and the other victimized taxing bodies agreed.
Now, what about Emma’s Landing taxes? The answer to this question is much easier. No tax bill of any kind was sent to anyone for the tax year 2021, payable in 2022. At least none appears in the Geneva Township Assessor database. Remember, the Council’s “Emma’s Fact Sheet” stated that Emma’s Landing would pay taxes “like everyone else.” Well, unless everyone else also pays nothing, and everyone else is taxed under the same State tax-discount statute as Emma’s Landing, the “Fact sheet” was fiduciary malpractice by the City Council in its purest form. What clandestine plans have been made for the 3+ acre adjacent property?
Love your country and your city, but eternal vigilance is the price of Life, Liberty, and Property. Trust, but verify everything.
2 thoughts on “Emma’s Landing Property Tax: Where is it?”
Is the TrumpOrg a consultant on the Sam Emma’s Landing Property? Did the Burton Foundation principals take the real estate course by the Donald?
Per Dave Chapelle’s opening monologue on last Saturday night’s “Saturday night Live”,
he related how candidate Trump revealed that “Everything you think they are doing in there, they are doing.” And nobody on the city council bought the taxpayers dinner first.
Emma’s Landing LIHTC Housing is a classic case of failure to consider City of Geneva’s context in the Illinois governance structure. Geneva is a small, non-home-rule, relatively affluent municipality. However, the City of Geneva has a much different and more diversified tax revenue portfolio than the other taxing bodies, such as the school and park districts. The City generates tax and other revenue through sales of electricity, water/sewer, plus sales tax. Fees, such as building permits, liquor licenses, police fines, etc. also contribute. Property tax income is a relatively small part of City revenue. The situation for School District 304 is very different. 91% of its revenue comes from local sources through property taxes. Seventy percent of Geneva’s property tax goes to the schools and homeownership comprises 70% of the EAV. The City and the School District do not communicate. For example, had Emma’s Landing been affordable senior housing (and a large LIHTC developer submitted a letter of interest to make it so), the schools could have saved hundreds of thousands of local property tax dollars. Had the school district been in Tier 2 of the State Funding algorithm, the extra costs would have been spread across the entire state through increasing state funding. Now, residents of Mill Creek, which is not in the City, face the same increased school taxes even though they had no elected representation in the decision. This violates a fundamental founding principle of the republic.
I don’t think Geneva’s Sam Emma family, though a highly honorable one, was the origin of the name.