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Press Release

Three Charged With Participating in Cook County Property Tax Bribery Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Illinois

CHICAGO — The owner of a Chicago-area fence installation company, along with two Cook County Assessor’s Office (CCAO) employees, have been charged in a bribery scheme.

As noted within the indictment, from approximately February to November 2017, ROBERT MITZIGA, 65, owner of Fence Masters, Inc. is alleged to have conspired with an executive of another company (Company A), BASILIO CLAUSEN, 51, of Crown Point, Indiana, who was employed by the CCAO as a residential field inspector, LUMNI LIKOVSKI, 47, of Burbank, who was employed by the CCAO as a director of taxpayer services, and Lavdim Memisovski, who was employed by the CCAO as a commercial group leader, to bribe the CCAO employees in return for reduced property assessments for properties owned by Fence Masters and Company A. Mitziga has also been charged separately with bribing Clausen, Likovski, and Memisovski; Likovski has been charged separately with accepting a bribe as a public official.  

Memisovski was charged separately by information on July 6, 2022 for conspiring to accept bribes.  He pled guilty to having engaged in a bribery scheme with the owner of a Chicago area construction company from 2016 to 2019.

Mitziga’s company, Fence Masters, and Company A had properties in Cook County that were being re-assessed by CCAO.  The two companies appealed the re-assessed values of their properties to the CCAO.  As agents of the CCAO, Clausen, Likovski, and Memisovski accepted bribes from Mitziga and the Company A executive in the form of golf outings, food, and drinks. In exchange, Clausen and Likovski circumvented the regular system of random assignment of appeals to route the appeals to Memisovski, who reduced the assessed values on the properties.

The indictment is announced by Morris Pasqual, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois and Robert W. Wheeler, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Vikas Didwania and Richard Rothblatt.

The public is reminded that an indictment contains only a charge and is not evidence of guilt.  The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  The charges carry a possible sentence range of 5 to 10 years in federal prison.  If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

Updated April 21, 2023

Topic
Public Corruption