Illinois GOP Chairman Schneider’s Elgin car wash owes $21K in overdue property taxes
Illinois Republican Party Chairman and Cook County Commissioner Timothy O. Schneider (R-Bartlett) is president of an Elgin car wash that owes $21,448 in overdue property taxes from 2016, according to the Cook County Treasurer.
The taxes, and the property of WaterWerks Car Wash, located at 928 E. Chicago Ave. in Elgin, are scheduled to be auctioned off on May 4.
This is the second time in two years Schneider has been in peril of losing the property, valued at $487,652 by the Cook County Assessor.
In 2016, Schneider was also pushed to the brink of losing his car wash after he failed to pay its 2014 property taxes. The property went up for auction in June 2016, but Schneider arranged for San Antonio-based Propel Financial Services, a “leader in property tax financing” whose “primary focus is resolving tax debt and avoiding foreclosure” to pay his $37,000 tab-- $30,645 in taxes and $6,279 in penalties.
Schneider’s car wash was one of 130 Cook County properties for which Propel made a total of $1.217 million in tax loans that year.
The property, which is three-quarters of an acre and has five car wash bays, was for sale but is no longer on the market, according to a listing on LoopNet.
Schneider has served as the president and registered agent of Waterwerks LLC since 1995, according to state records.
Successful tax appeals
Cook County Assessor records show Schneider has had success in appealing his property taxes since ascending to countywide elected office.
In 2010, records show, he hired the powerful property tax appeals law firm Crane & Norcross, which succeeded in getting his car wash's valuation lowered by $82,000, from $494,860 to $412,588.
Crane & Norcross succeeded again in 2013, chopping $81,000 off the Waterwerks property valuation, which fell from $441,464 to $360,228.
That appeal resulted in a lower bill, but one that was ultimately unpaid by Schneider.
Michael E. Crane, principal of Crane & Norcross, is a close ally and financial supporter of Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios, who attracted unwanted publicity after he hired Crane's nephew as his chief deputy.
Berrios was fined in January for accepting campaign contributions above a certain limit from Crane, whose firm has obtained $1.8 billion in property value reductions -- including for Schneider's car wash -- since Berrios took office in 2010.
Political ascendance, but financial woes
Waterwerks isn't the only financial challenge Schneider has faced since becoming a Cook County commissioner in 2006.
Two companies Schneider has operated have been named in foreclosure suits, court records show.
In 2012, Northbrook Bank & Trust filed a foreclosure lawsuit in Kane County against FourFathers Development LLC, which owned four parcels of property commonly known as The Falls of Plato on Russell Road in Elgin.
The property was sold at an auction and a deficiency judgment in the amount of $5,226,034 was issued against the defendants in 2013.
Records indicate at least a portion of the judgment remains unpaid. In 2015, orders were issued against several of Schneider’s other companies, including WaterWerks, in an effort to discover assets.
Any proceeds from a sale of WaterWerks would go to resolve the Northbrook Bank & Trust judgment, records show.
In March 2017, Baraboo National Bank filed a foreclosure lawsuit against Schneider and Rolling Knolls LLC related to property at 1508 Circle Drive in Elgin. The case was dismissed in October.