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June 29, 2022

Three Shields Twp Deputy Assessors File Complaints against Township Assessor and Trustee –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On May 17, 2022

Shields Township, Lake County, IL. (ECWd) –

Press Release:

Late Monday May 16, 2022,  three Shield’s Township Deputy Assessors filed a second set of complaints with the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office (LCSAO), the Lake County Sheriff (LCSO) and the Public Integrity Unit of the Illinois Attorney General (PIU). The first set of complaints were filed on May 5, 2022. Shields Township encompasses portions of Lake Forest, North Chicago and Lake Bluff.

The complaints allege wrongdoing and possible official misconduct against the Shields Township Assessor Scott Helton and Shield Township Trustee Kathryn Walker-Eich. These complaints request that the LCSO, LCSAO and the PIU investigate the allegations which they believe constitute official misconduct, misuse of government property and/or breach of the public trust.

The series of 6 complaints include allegations that Helton improperly instructed an employee to lower the assessed valuation on Walker-Eich’s home due to nearby road construction, a request for which there is no basis under the Property Tax Code, as confirmed by the County’s Chief Assessment Officer.  The complaints also allege that Helton has passed along inside information from the County Chief Assessment Officer to Walker-Eich for her to use in property appraisals, valuations and tax appeals, as part of her employment with Argianas & Associates, a Downers Grove based property valuation and tax appeal firm in which Walker-Eich served as Managing Director. The complaints also allege Helton used office databases and other resources, including databases costing township taxpayers $6,000 per year, to provide Walker-Eich with 92 pages of comparable property values for use in her appraisal and tax appeal business. The complaints also allege Walker-Eich furnished Helton a consulting contract regarding the valuation of the Northbrook Gun Club and Helton furnished previous Board of Review findings to assist Walker-Eich’s firm with valuing the property. The complaints also include allegations that Helton requested office employees to obtain publicly available documents for his friends and to make personal airline reservations as well as Uber reservations for both himself and Walker-Eich.

Copies of the complaints can be downloaded from the following link: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/88ni8tyd1ljdl2p/AAAjjiytf_GtgTlvKc_38l4na?dl=0

The three whistleblowers filing complaints are:  Kelly Ugaste Cooprider, the Chief Deputy Assessor who has been with the Shields Township Assessor’s Office for over 32 years; by Deputy Assessor Mark Romer who has been a property appraiser for 26 years and has been with the office for 3 years; and Deputy Assessor Andrea Wagner who has been with the office for 3 1/2 years.

For more information, please contact Keith Hunt

HUNT LAW

ATTORNEYS AT LAW

 

Keith L. Hunt

Hunt Law PC

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