CHICAGO – A federal judge has sentenced a longtime ex Cook County Board of Review worker to three months behind bars for helping reduce property taxes in exchange for $43,000 in cash kickbacks.
Danilo “Danny B” Barjaktarevic admitted last year that he offered to lower property valuations for kickbacks at a rate of $2,000 for each commercial property and $1,000 for each residential property.
Appraisals are a key factor in calculating your property tax bills.
But before being sentenced on Tuesday, Barjaktarevic told US District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman that the bribery scheme “doesn’t portray me as a person.” Rather, he told the judge, “I lost my way” and added, “I hurt everyone, but I hurt my family the most.
“I am ashamed of myself,” said Barjaktarevic.
Ahead of the hearing, defense attorney Matthew McQuaid noted in a court filing that Barjaktarevic has already lost his job at the Board of Review and will lose his pension.
The Chicago Sun-Times first revealed the federal investigation that led to Barjaktarevic’s indictment. It involved an unnamed individual who was covertly cooperating with the feds and was separately the subject of a criminal investigation, according to an FBI affidavit obtained by the Sun-Times in July 2021.
Federal authorities filed the affidavit on June 30, 2021, seeking a judge’s permission to search Barjaktarevic and his phone. Although Barjaktarevic allegedly claimed during the investigation that he was a “middle man,” his plea deal indicates that he lied when he said other Board of Review members were involved.
The Board of Review has hired high-profile law firm Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila to review the Sun-Times report on Barjaktarevic. Although the firm was initially hired on a contract worth $110,000, records show the cap was later raised to $150,000.