There's a surprise on the list of the biggest suburban tax bills

There's a surprise on the list of the biggest suburban tax bills

  • DENNIS RODKIN
  • 12/7/22

Anybody who knows their Chicago geography might guess that suburban Cook County homes with the highest property tax bills are all along the North Shore lakefront. But the property that rounds out the top dozen might surprise you: It’s in Olympia Fields, landlocked near the southern tip of Cook County.

Not only that, but the 14,500-square-foot mansion on three acres is a rare double-celebrity home.

In 2012, now-convicted musician R. Kelly lost the Maros Lane home in foreclosure. It’s currently owned by Rudolph Isley, who spent more than 35 years as a member of the Isley Brothers, known for hit records “Shout,” “It’s Your Thing,” “Who’s That Lady?” and others.

Isley joins high-profile figures like investment banker Byron Trott, Chicago Cubs co-owner Laura Ricketts and Groupon co-founder Eric Lefkofsky as some of the biggest residential property taxpayers in Cook County.

After other Cook County agencies delayed final tax calculations by several months, Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas recently mailed out second-installment bills—normally mailed in June, with payment due in August. For the full year, suburban homeowners owe a total of $5.42 billion and commercial property owners owe $7.06 billion.

In recent days, Crain’s looked at the biggest homeowner tax bills in the city and the county’s biggest commercial property tax bills. On the third leg of that stool are suburban homes.

The majority of the top 11 tabs belong to homeowners in Winnetka, with seven of the biggest bills; Glencoe, with three; and Wilmette, with one. No properties in west Cook County are on the list of the 30 largest tax bills going to single households, and the only one south is the Isley estate.

Here are the 11 North Shore homes with the biggest tax bills:

No. 1: An Ardsley Road estate in Winnetka owned by Steve and Nancy Crown has a full-year tax bill of $676,519. The couple, members of the billionaire Crown family, also have a Walton Street condo in the city, whose $209,000 tax bill ranks seventh among Chicago homeowners.

No 2: The blufftop estate on Whitebridge Hill Road in Winnetka that Edgar Jannotta, chairman emeritus of William Blair, sold in March for $6.25 million has a full-year tax obligation of $376,309. The new owners obscured their names in public records using a land trust.

No. 3: Terry McKay, founder of Capri Capital Partners, is paying $319,647 this year for Edgecliff, his four-acre gated estate on Sheridan Road in Winnetka. Being third might be a relief of sorts. In 2015, Crain’s reported he had the biggest suburban bill, at $294,000.

No. 4: The year’s tax bill is $312,647 on a 3.5-acre estate on Sheridan Road in Winnetka that Tina and Byron Trott built in the early 2000s. Byron Trott heads the $33 billion investment firm BDT, which recently announced a merger with a $20 billion New York firm.

No. 5: For their 11,000-square foot home on a little more than two acres on Sheridan Road in Winnetka, billionaire investment executives Jenny Just and Matt Hulsizer are paying $307,751 in property taxes.

No. 6: The co-founder of Groupon and founder of medical tech firm Tempus, Eric Lefkofsky and his wife, Liz, have a 15,800-square-foot mansion on a 2.1-acre estate on Glencoe. Their tax bill for the year is $300,095.

No. 7: In Wilmette, Laura Ricketts, a co-owner of the Chicago Cubs with other members of her family, and her wife, Brooke Skinner, are paying $299,054 in property taxes for the 11,000-square-foot house they built on a Sheridan Road site that Ricketts bought for $6.5 million in 2010.

No. 8: For the mansion they built on Sheridan Road in Winnetka in 2014, Michael Hara, founder and CEO of LTD Commodities, a catalog and online merchandising firm based in Lincolnshire, and his wife, Cynthia Hara, have a tax bill of $284,611.

No. 9: The owners of a 10,000-square-foot mansion on Maple Hill Road in Glencoe have obscured their names in public records via a land trust. Their full-year tax bill is $283,103.

No. 10: Neurosurgeon Jonathan Citow and Karen Citow’s property taxes for their property in Glencoe, an 11,200-square-foot house on just under three acres on Lakewood Drive, is $256,827.

No. 11: Stephen and Christine Fussell are paying $254,792 in property taxes this year on their Winnetka property, a 1.65-acre parcel where their 12,500-square foot home was built in 2018. Stephen Fussell, who was a high-level Abbott executive, now heads his own software and management consulting firm, N2Focus.

No. 12: Isley and his wife, Elaine, bought their Olympia Fields estate in 2013 from a lender, not from Kelly. They recently received a letter from Pappas showing the total property taxes for the year are $246,850.

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