A former Cook County Board of Review employee was sentenced Tuesday to three months in prison and at least one year of probation. This is because he took bribes to settle tax appeals against more than 20 assets.
Danilo Barjaktarevich, who was deputy to the board responsible for helping property owners appeal property tax valuations, pleaded guilty to one count of bribery in September. Federal prosecutors had sought a maximum sentence of two and a half years in prison, but Barjaktarevich’s lawyers had sought a suspended sentence.
“Probation would send the wrong message,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Peabody told a judge during a hearing in Dirksen U.S. Court. He was getting paid, but he wanted more.”
Barjaktarevich’s attorney stressed that the former county official was quick to admit his actions.
“The moment he was arrested, he admitted what he had done,” said Barjak Tarevich’s attorney, Matthew McQuade, asking the judge to consider a suspended sentence or life in prison. “He has consistently cooperated … He can and will live the rest of his life law-abiding.”
Before the sentencing, Bardjaktarevich told the court: … should have known better. ”
U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman told Barjak Tarevich: It means you did something wrong. “
But the judge noted that the crime was serious and not without victims.
While on probation, Barjaktarevich must complete 100 hours of community service at the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Among other special conditions, Barjaktarevich must repay her $21,000 received as part of the original bribe.
Unbeknownst to Mr. Barjaktarevich, the individual, named only as “CS-1” in the document, was a classified intelligence source operating under the direction of the FBI, according to the petition. Barjaktarevic told sources that for each commercial property he accepted $2,000 to lower the appraisal value, while for each residential property he charged $1,000, the total cost to CS-1 was It will be $43,000, according to legal documents. Half was upfront and was paid around January 7, 2021, according to the petition.
Barjaktarevic updated CS-1 on the appeals process during the first cash drop in a suburban parking lot, and then emailed again in May 2021, stating, “Whether and to what extent the property has been downgraded. ‘ was explained in detail.
The two reunited in a parking lot that July, and Barjaktarevich received a second $22,000 payment, officials said in an agreement.
The petition suggests that no other employee of the review board was involved. “Barjaktarevich misrepresented to CS-1 that he would be assisted by other employees of CCBOR,” the petition reads.
The Sun-Times first reported that the FBI was investigating an unnamed employee before a county board of review last July, citing a temporarily unsealed 45-page affidavit. The affidavit cited an employee who claimed to be a “broker” who split bribes with others in the office, The Sun-Times reported.
Upon receipt of the report, the Review Board will grant the employee paid leave, The Sun Times reported, and undertook to independently investigate the incident. The review board signed him to an emergency contract worth $110,000 with law firm Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila to conduct an internal investigation into the case.
That contract was due to expire in early March, but was to be extended at a cost of $40,000 and re-signed on September 6. Among their responsibilities were: according to the contractinterviewing review board employees about the allegations and the board’s security processes, reviewing documents, preparing presentations outlining findings and comprehensive written reports, and providing federal Represented a commission that communicates with the authorities.
That report has not yet been published.
“The Review Board is pleased that justice has been served today and that Mr. Barjaktarevich will be repaid the money he illegally obtained. This was one corrupt employee who tried to undermine the good work done by his hardworking staff by falsely alluding to bigger plans…in a statement.
This is not the first time there has been an ethical setback at a board meeting in recent years. Commissioner Tammy Wendt, who lost the June primary, was found to have violated the ethics rules for hiring her first cousin as a top staff member. Board members have also been accused by ethics officials of receiving excessive campaign contributions from those seeking a lower valuation.
The county oversight agency also accused officers of repeatedly recruiting employees based on personal and political ties, and pressured employees to engage in political activism.
This was not the first time Barjaktarevich had accepted a bribe, according to a government judgment memo. He admitted to having received $1,500 in cash from taxpayers to help with property taxes. We found other similar cases, including an estimated $1,500 payment from another taxpayer in the spring of 2021.