FOIA Request To Find $1.7 Billion In TIF Funds

This afternoon the CivicLab filed a Freedom Of Information Act request with the Chicago Department of Planning and Development to get a complete accounting of where our $1.71 billion in property taxes are stashed. We seek a clear and detailed listing of projects and uses that have tied this money up and made unavailable to us.

“Pursuant to the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, 5 ILCS 140/1 et seq., this is a request for an electronic copy of the following record(s):

(1) Reports referred to as Encumbrance Reports that list the planned or proposed uses and status of funds from the Tax Increment Financing program of Chicago. There was approximately $1.7 billion in such funds in TIF reserve accounts on January 1, 2014. The spirit of this request is to get a list of all projects and uses set against those $1.7 billion.

(2) Any list or report that details or documents the use of the $1.7 billion in the TIF reserve accounts. In many city documents we find in annual TIF reports at the end of the balance sheet section, where there is a dollar amount equal to what is left in the fund the following language – “Reserved for future development.” This language is vague and does not tell the taxpayer what the public dollars that are in the given TIF account are being held for. We request a list of such “future development” projects that list the name of the project, the total cost amount of the project, the total amount of TIF dollars “reserved” for that project, the address of the project, the ward where the project is located, the TIF in question, the name of the owner or developer of such projects.

(4) If  TIF funds are being held back to pay down debt incurred for creating past projects we ask for the contract or note between the city and the lender and a history of payments made and a schedule of payments due. It is our desire to know the total amount of indebtedness the city has entered for each TIF project where a note, bond or loan was taken by the city.

(4) We have seen city responses to requests such as this before. The city has claimed that this information is available on various web sites and published reports. Be assured that this is most definitely not the case. We are seeking a document or set of documents that can clearly show the total number of claims on the $1.7 billion in property taxes that was sitting in TIF accounts at the beginning of 2014.

If any record or portion of a record responsive to this request is contained in a record or portion of a record deemed unresponsive to the request, I would like to inspect the entire document. Under the Freedom of Information Act, all non-exempt portions of any partially-exempt documents must be disclosed.

If any fee shall be occurred, please consult me at the below email/phone before fulfilling the request. If the records are not available via email, please contact me before fulfilling the request.”

Stay tuned.


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