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Grafton Township Race: Zielinski Accuses Ottley of Nepotism

Submitted by Alan Zielinski, candidate for Grafton Township Assessor.

LAKEWOOD: Alan Zielinski, candidate for Grafton Township Assessor, wants to make sure taxpayers’ dollars get the highest return on their investment.

No more nepotism, Zielinski said in a press release.
“I’m a huge believer in and supporter of family businesses and even grew up in one: my Dad’s general contracting business.

The issue is when the ‘family business’ is financed with taxpayer dollars as was the case with the incumbent’s family (William Ottley, Jr.). Unlike the incumbent, I will not spend taxpayer dollars hiring any related parties.” said Zielinski.

Ottley took office 1/1/90. Township records show because he didn’t speak with or ask them to stay, two experienced deputy assessors left hurting the efficiency of the office.

Township records show a month later the Ottley hired his wife and one daughter. He later hired his other daughter. The incumbent’s wife was the highest paid hourly employee and all family members received benefits at taxpayers’ expense.

Between 1/1/06 and 12/31/12 alone, township records show the incumbent’s wife and two daughters accounted for nearly a quarter of the assessor office’s payroll: 21% of the taxpayers’ dollars went to family members!

“That will not happen on my watch.” said Zielinski. “My hiring preferences are current employees, appraisers, Veterans, handicapped and all other qualified individuals.

The critical issue for everyone in the assessor’s office is to be properly motivated. Properly motivated means dedicated to honesty, accuracy, conformity with state and federal valuation statutes/guidelines, customer service, an exemplary work ethic and focused on the common good of Grafton Township’s residents and businesses.”

No More Favoritism.
The incumbent assessor’s preferential treatment extended beyond nepotism. Public records indicate the incumbent treated his personal parcel differently than how the township fared.
   • In 2009, the incumbent's personal parcel assessment saw no change but Grafton Township increased 3%!
   • In 2011, the incumbent's personal parcel assessment decreased 24% but Grafton Township increased 4%!

Public records show the incumbent’s huge reduction in 2011 was because he personally appealed his own assessment. “It would be amusing if it wasn’t so serious,” said Zielinski.

“When elected, Grafton taxpayers have my word I’ll do my best to treat everyone fairly and with respect. Whether you own residential, industrial or commercial property in Grafton Township, your assessment will be impartial regardless of ownership.” Zielinski promised.

For more information, please visit the candidate’s web site at www.Al-for-Assessor.com

Ottley 2011 appeal evidence.pdf
340K   View   Download   Ottley nepotism evidence.pdf
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Dawn Renee February 23, 2013 at 06:07 PM
Mr. Zielinski - you do not own a home in Grafton Township, but live with your girlfriend. In 2011 you ALSO appealed your girlfriend's property taxes, resulting in a decrease of around 100% right? From over $16,000 to less than $8000. Will you confirm if that is true, and if so, why is that acceptable, and Mr. Ottley's personal property tax appeal not? Also, did you appeal your girlfriend's property taxes again in 2012? Did you ever appeal your own property taxes, on the home you own (which isn't in Grafton Township - it is in Lake Barrington)?
Dawn Renee February 23, 2013 at 06:58 PM
Ha, or rather a 50% reduction in property taxes. Sorry for the typo, hoping Mr Zielinski will post regarding the reduction in his girlfriend's taxes on the property in which he lives.
Alan Zielinski February 23, 2013 at 08:09 PM
Dawn, we had this conversation on Huntley Neighbors: I'll re-type my answers here out of respect to this publication's readers. The difference as to why my appeals were different is I WAS NOT THE ASSESSOR IN EITHER CASE! An assessor appealing hi/her own assessment is tantamount to malpractice. The decrease in assessment was due to the incumbent being asleep and not realizing an arm's length sale had occurred. When he awoke at the Board of Review hearing, he agreed with the revised assessment. It was a vivid example of why so many Grafton property owners have had to appeal: because the incumbent let the gradual yet relentless decrease in property values since 2007/2008 get away from him. I will gladly provide the audio of the appeal hearing to anyone who requests it on my web site.
Dawn Renee February 23, 2013 at 10:10 PM
Mr Zielinski, You stated that the appeal was necessary because the Assessor didn't realize that a sale had occurred. Will you please clarify the timing? 2011 assessments were posted right around October 1st, and your girlfriend didn't close on her home until October 31st, correct? As I've asked on Huntley Neighbors, I will ask here: what townships in Ilinois do you feel have dealt "correctly" with falling property values, and what are their rates of appeal? Since you are charging unethical behavior by Mr Ottley, will you please confirm that you provided written disclosure to all parties of your intent to live in the Lakewood home, when you also acted as the appraiser ? When I researched the USPAP standards you reference on your website, it indicated that was an ethical requirement.
Alan Zielinski February 24, 2013 at 01:14 AM
There was, has never been, nor is there now any ethics violation. If I missed it, please cite it and your source. I'm not about to rehash our Huntley Neighbor discussion here. If readers would like to peruse that exchange, here's the link: http://www.huntleyneighbors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=141431&highlight=zielinski As I stated there, you keep mentioning other townships but I'm running for Grafton Township Assessor not McHenry County Chief Assessment Officer. My goal is to distinguish Grafton from other townships and make it the standard by which others] are judged! This press release deals with the incumbent and my comments will be limited to it. If you would like to research other issues, provide the underlying research/verification as I did and generate your own press release, I'm sure this and other media outlets will be as accommodating as they were in this case. If those founded issues relate to me, they will be immediately dealt with and completely resolved to the satisfaction of Grafton Township's taxpayers.
Dawn Renee February 24, 2013 at 02:11 AM
Al, I've noticed that you didn't answer my question. How could the assessor have been lazy in not knowing about the sale of your girlfriend's home, when assessments were published October 1st, the home sale closed October 31st, and wasn't recorded until November 15? All I asked was whether you met the USPAP recommendations for ethical standards when you acted as appraiser on the home you live in. If you are unwilling to release a copy of that appraisal , then we simply won't know, will we?
Alan Zielinski February 24, 2013 at 02:44 AM
This press release deals with the incumbent and my comments will be limited to it.
Dawn Renee February 24, 2013 at 08:01 AM
Ok Al, sure. I know you won't answers those questions. Nor will you address whether or not you actually think it was ethical for you to act as the appraiser on the home you were going to live in. I'm sure you won't address it, and you already know that there is no way for th voting public to obtain that appraisal (to see if you properly disclosed your relationship with the property or homeowner, per USPAP ethics guidelines)
Alan Zielinski February 24, 2013 at 01:39 PM
If you would like to research other issues, provide the underlying research/verification as I did and generate your own press release, I'm sure this and other media outlets will be as accommodating as they were in this case.
George Ferrante February 24, 2013 at 02:20 PM
How about a statement from either candidates that they will not raise property taxes!! I'm assuming both of these slimey politicians plan on raising property taxes to pad their pockets and under funded pensions!!
Alan Zielinski February 24, 2013 at 03:57 PM
Setting taxes is the township's function; the assessor's role is limited to determining how that tax burden is apportioned among the township's property owners. That said, an accurate EAV (equalized assessed value) permits property owners to see the true tax rate. Armed with that data, they can sharpen their pitchforks and march on the township's monthly meetings. Property owners have my word their assessments will be timely, accurate and fair if they vote for me. The obvious alternative is the obvious inaccurate status quo.


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