If there were any mistaking who politically benefits from the strip clubs, potholes and poverty in Washington Park, the new administration and mayor underscored it by being sworn in by St. Clair County Democratic Committee Chairman Bob Sprague.
Then they hired his law firm to represent the village for $3,000 a month.
New Mayor Rickie Thomas next set to trashing the outgoing administration of former Mayor Ann Rodgers. She’s the one kicked off the ballot for failing to buy a wheel tax sticker and who Sprague opposed in court when she tried to get back on the ballot.
Now, to follow the players, Thomas is the one Rodgers tried to have arrested for being the village clerk when she said he didn’t live in the village.
Thomas owns a house at 1180 Cromwell Lane in Shiloh, assessed at $221,659. He took an owner-occupied deduction for the Shiloh house on his property taxes in 2014 — while he was the elected village clerk of Washington Park — but did not take it in 2015.
Thomas also owns a house at 1231 N. 48th St. in Washington Park, assessed at $5,950. He has not taken the owner-occupied deduction on that property since 2013.
So does Rickie Thomas live in a $221K house in the manicured Windsor Estates subdivision in Shiloh where his car and his wife’s cars were parked Wednesday afternoon? Or does he live where he claims to and is registered to vote, in the $6K house on a pot-hole laced road, a door down from a burned-out house and half a block from an abandoned, burned-out school in Washington Park?
When contacted, he said the Washington Park house was his home. When asked why he took the exemption on the Shiloh house while he was Washington Park village clerk, he said he was in a meeting and would call back. He didn’t.
State law says property owners who wrongly claim a homestead exemption can be billed for two years’ worth of back taxes. They also could be charged with perjury. They also have no business seeking election to communities in which they are unwilling to raise their families.
Pick one, Mayor Thomas, and make sure you let St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly know your decision.