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Tim Novak

Watchdogs reporter

Tim Novak is an investigative reporter exposing government corruption in the state of Illinois, Cook County and the city of Chicago. His stories include a four-year investigation into a homicide that led to the appointment of a special prosecutor, resulting in Mayor Daley’s nephew pleading guilty to manslaughter in 2014. A six-month investigation in 2004 brought down Daley’s Hired Truck program, in which city agencies spent $40 million on private trucking companies owned by mobsters and politically connected insiders that were often paid to do nothing. The ensuing federal investigation ended with the indictments of 49 people, including 29 city employees.

Since 2015, the Chicago Police Department has shut down at least 58 businesses, most on the South Side and West Side, after shootings at or near their premises even as violence surged downtown.
The university never told county officials it was leasing to a preschool — which could be on the hook for over $800,000 in property taxes. So the bills kept going to a past tenant — who was allowed to renew his lease despite refusing to pay the county over $400,000 in taxes.
After being subpoenaed by the feds about its land dealings, the Cook County Land Bank Authority, led by County Commissioner Bridger Gainer, decided it needed a lawyer. It hired one who lives with Gainer’s then-top aide Kara Highfill.
After Sun-Times reports exposed questionable tax breaks, Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi tells four people to pay a total of $254,298 for years of tax breaks they shouldn’t have gotten.
The document charging Lavdim “Deme” Memisovski was signed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Amarjeet S. Bhachu, who is prosecuting cases against former House Speaker Michael J. Madigan and Ald. Edward M. Burke.
The Cook County Land Bank Authority is barred from putting in a claim on occupied property, but it did so for Josephine’s Cooking and held onto it as the restaurant kept operating and its unpaid taxes kept piling up.
Boguslaw Kasprowicz pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the failure of Washington Federal Bank for Savings — the investigation that also ensnared ex-Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson.
They lease public property to businesses. Many don’t pay their taxes. And the government landlords do little to monitor this, even when the law requires it, a Sun-Times investigation finds.
Five years before Washington Federal Bank for Savings was ordered closed because of massive fraud, CEO John F. Gembara’s wife told police she planned to call the FBI on her husband, newly obtained records show.