FOIA reveals new questions about processes in Treasurer’s office

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CHAMPAIGN CO., Ill. (WCIA) — A woman whose property taxes were listed as delinquent — despite being paid on time and in full — is speaking after getting an apology from the county.

“He knew about it – or the county knew about it – multiple times,” said Anita Pilarski. “They could have had this fixed easily and I think that them dropping the ball a number of times added to my stress and adding to the frustration. I don’t think that’s sincere.”

Pilarski is breathing a sigh of relief now that she knows the ball is rolling on the formal process of reversing the administrative sale in error.

“I was relieved for the first time since October that I’m gonna get my house back ,” she explained.

Pilarski’s ‘delinquent’ property taxes were paid in June, but she received notices about delinquent property taxes in Oct. and Nov. before the taxes on her home were sold in Dec. to Bass Master Tax Investments, LLC.

“When I read the letter, it was just, “okay, this is finally gonna start to come back to my house,” Pilarski told Target 3 on Wednesday.

We didn’t stop digging after speaking with the treasurer’s office on Jan. 22.

Target 3 filed an open records request through the Freedom of Information Act to get additional information about administrative sales in error or a property sold for delinquent taxes.

We received several emails and included in the response was a partial denial, which said our request was in part denied “because no properties were being sold for delinquent taxes.”

We also learned Pius Weibel, the acting chief deputy in the treasurer’s office, sought help from the Cole’s County treasurer when it came to resolving the administrative sales in error.

Weibel was provided a “cheat sheet.”

Coles Co. Treasurer George Edwards sent him copies of state law and highlighted the relevant passages.

Pilarski said despite the fix, she’s not confident about what will happen in 2020.

“I’m worried about this year’s property taxes when we pay them,” she said. “My fear is are they gonna be posted correctly? Are they gonna be posted on time? I think it’s a very valid fear. I know they had 10 years of doing it right, so I shouldn’t let the one … but I have no faith at all. “

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