Illinois Governor Pritzkner Property Tax Evasion Investigation (LA 983)
Steven Butala: Steve and Jill here.
Jill DeWit: Happy Friday.
Steven Butala: Welcome to the Land Academy Show, entertaining land investment talk. I’m Steven Jack Butala.
Jill DeWit: And Jill DeWit broadcasting from sunny Southern California.
Steven Butala: Today, Jill and I talk about Illinois Governor Pritzker, property tax evasion investigation. Sounds boring, but I promise you it’s not.
Jill DeWit: This is a good one.
Steven Butala: Before we get into it, let’s take a question posted by one of our members on the landinvestors.com online community. It’s free.
Jill DeWit: Michael A. Hello. Michael asks, “Hello friends, for those of you who have subscribed to PATLive, how’s it working out? Sure, PATLive can take messages, but are they really helping out? Are you simply calling back at the calls that PATLive takes? Is it really helpful? Every call is different and often there’s amount of rapport building that’s needed to convince the seller that you’re not a scam or that your offers legit? Is PATLive able to do this for you? Please share your experiences. Thanks.”
Steven Butala: Jill’s an expert at this, but I must say before she answers, I’ve never seen so many answers, membership answers. There’s probably 35 answers of positive experiences from our users about PATLive. So, there’s an underlying meaning here to this question. Jill’s going to answer the actual question. Does PATLive work, yes or no? And I’m going to answer, what I think is the underlying meaning here.
Jill DeWit: Okay, I love it. So here’s the deal about… So PATLive, there are other different services out there, but we all, as a group, use PATLive and it’s nice because they are a little bit real estate based. I think we have a group and they know us.
Steven Butala: They understand our group.
Jill DeWit: They do and they understand our calls and what we’re doing. We’ve got some seasoned people now, so it works out great. But what’s funny too is… What it is, is you send out mail, and the offers come back. You can pick up the phone yourself and weed through all the calls, either the good and the bad and the, “Hey, take me off your list calls.” Or you can have someone like PATLive answer the phone, weed through those calls and then, just send you the responses. Which is a beautiful thing because it saves you so much time and energy.
Jill DeWit: Maybe you have a day job. This covers that for you and then, all you get at the end of the day is a list of who you want to call back. You may have six no’s, one person that was really unhappy and you can see that. Then, you have four people that said, “Love your offer. How fast can we close?” And those are the ones you call back.
Jill DeWit: So it’s really great and they’ll take down some of the details too, which I appreciate. Because what you can do then is have a chance to look up the property and just look over some things and go, “All right, I remember what I offered. They liked it. There’s the property.” So when you call them back, you’re ready to in that… Now you’re only making that one phone call, you can efficiently, really close the deal on that call.
Jill DeWit: You could have already looked it up and said, “Hi, I just want to make sure I’m talking to Mr. and Mrs. Smith? Yep. Well, I looked it over and you accepted my offer of $1,293? Yep. We love it. Can we do it on Tuesday like you said? Absolutely. Is this the right address for you [inaudible 00:03:11] notary? Yes it is.” And you can see how that goes. You could really in one call, with this service, close your deals, why I think it’s efficient.
Jill DeWit: What’s funny too is… And we’ve used it in the past. I don’t know because I have my own staff taking the calls for us and what we could do in-house, my own staff cannot effectively close the deal on that one call. Look things up right as we’re talking, know that it was our offer price and what’s basically pre-approved and do it for certain transactions.
Jill DeWit: But what’s funny, all I keep thinking about it was one of our members who is sending out so much mail. This is his full-time gig now and he’s sending out so much mail. He sent us a note the other day that said that his PATLive bill has exceeded his mortgage payment. So it doesn’t mean that PATLive is that expensive. It means that he uses them that much. That many calls are going out because he’s sending that much mail and it is saving him so much money. I mean, he’s thrilled. That was a bragging moment for him, like, “I got this.” So what were you going to…
Steven Butala: Everybody who I’ve ever talked to who has used PATLive or an answering service, me included, this is even before Jill. It’s one of those things where you say, “Boy, I wish I would’ve done this a year ago.” It’s a life changing thing and it’s very efficient from a financial standpoint and a time standpoint to outsource that.
Steven Butala: We send a lot of mail out, if you do it correctly. You get real positive phone calls back, but you get a lot of negative stuff too because you’re sending offers out, in general, for less than the property’s worth, so some people get upset about it. That gets removed from your life entirely and gets shoved on the people who are answering the phone and they separate those calls, so you never have to deal with it. It’s completely out of your life. You don’t even know.
Steven Butala: But my point is, the underlying meaning here is this, we’re all entrepreneurs here and we’re all people and we’re all theoretically trying to move forward in life and move up. It is essential in almost every situation, if you’re going to move up in life or move up in your company, to give up some control. You can’t do it all. You start out in this world with a finite amount of minutes in the day or in the week, work minutes specifically. You get to a point where to grow, you have to outsource, you have to give up control. That’s very hard for a lot of people. We see some people that stay in one spot in their career as members of Land Academy for too long because they’re not willing to do something, like get PATLive and then, free up that tremendous burden, time burden. It’s a huge time burden for very small amount of money. Just a few hundred dollars a month, in general. So you have to look at it that way.
Jill DeWit: You’re right.
Steven Butala: Is that person who answers the phone a PATLive, are those bank of people going to answer the phone the way you do? Nope. Is it going to cost you a deal? Probably a month, maybe. But you got to get your head around that or you’re never going to move forward and you know what, I’m really talking to myself here. Because when it comes to really given up control and moving onto the next thing, I have problems with that. So does Jill, actually.
Jill DeWit: Mm-hmm (affirmative). It’s true.
Steven Butala: Everybody who’s human and who’s an entrepreneur does. It’s like giving up part of yourself or part of your kids or something like that. So, move on to the next company here or make this one bigger.
Jill DeWit: It’s true.
Steven Butala: So PATLive’s a tiny little example of that, but that’s why I chose this question.
Jill DeWit: It’s a good question. No, and I understand your underlying meaning and theme here and I’m glad that you said that. Thank you.
Steven Butala: Today’s topic, Illinois Governor Pritzker and his property tax evasion investigation problem. This is the meat of the show. Cook County, Illinois, which is where Chicago is and Orleans Parish, which is where the city of New Orleans is, are historically the most corrupt counties in the country. It’d be tough to argue that. I’m going to get so much email on this episode about all kinds of stuff. We get a bunch of email anyway, but I can already tell.
Jill DeWit: Good thing somebody else is answering the phone.
Steven Butala: Of the nine most recent governors of the state of Illinois, five of them are in federal prison right now. That’s a fact.
Jill DeWit: I did not know that.
Steven Butala: Plus or minus one or two of the people or the timeframe, but I got the basic statistic right and this guy’s on his way. This is what he did. He’s a multimillionaire. Now I’m talking a huge multimillionaire and he got elected to office, he bought a mansion. He and his wife bought a mansion that was very, what he believed to be undervalue And in the state of Illinois and specifically, in Chicago, there’s a way that you can… If a property is being renovated/not tenable, you can apply for and receive, based on an inspection, a huge break in property taxes.
Steven Butala: This is a big, huge property in the city of Chicago, so you can imagine how much it is. So he proceeded to buy this property and remove stuff to make it untenable with intent and with a paper trail. He and his wife both traded off emails and phone calls to the contractor and said, “Hey, can you remove all the toilets and remove the sink in the kitchen and make this thing untenable because we’ve got a scheduled appointment with somebody from the assessor’s office to make sure this thing qualifies for the tax break.”
Steven Butala: There’s a year of conversations recorded like this making a mass massive paper trail and the guy’s going down. He’s going to go to federal prison for this. All he wanted to do was take the toilets out and take… I think he took a bunch of stuff out of the kitchen to make sure that no one could live there and he got the massive tax reduction. I don’t the numbers, it’s something like, $30,000 less a month.
Jill DeWit: So was it supposed to be an investment property or they were supposed to live there? Do you know?
Steven Butala: He shut up after awhile, fortunately for him. His intent was to just wait. He bought it and let the market go up and just… Or maybe even clean it up, part of the renovation. Who knows? That’s his story.
Jill DeWit: Oh, that’s part of his whole-
Steven Butala: That it was part of the renovation.
Jill DeWit: I’m going to sit on this asset and have lower taxes than everybody else for a while.
Steven Butala: Yeah.
Jill DeWit: Got it. I thought it was like the day before the were caught. I thought he was living there. When I heard this story, I thought maybe he and his wife were living there and the day before the inspection they moved out and did all this. Then the inspection happens and then they moved back in and put it all back. That’s what I thought was going on.
Steven Butala: So that’s the whole governor of Illinois story. But here’s the real topic today. Why do you have to cheat? There are some people in our group, I’m obviously, not going to name names, that have a long history of these types of operations. I don’t understand why you have to cheat or try to sell somebody something that they don’t want or this hard sales, classic hard sales thing.
Steven Butala: Listen, there’s no tricks to this. You send out a bunch of mail at a certain price to a bunch of people who own property. They might be skyscrapers, they might be rural, vacant land or anything in between. The people who are interested in selling their property because they’re at a situation in their life or a time in their life that they want to do that, they respond to you. And the ones that don’t, don’t and that’s it.
Steven Butala: So I don’t know why there’s always this undertone. I think it’s real estate agents. I really do. I think real estate agents give this whole industry a terrible name. This seems to be this undertone of, you’re taking advantage of this situation. I don’t mean an undertone for us and how we buy and sell property, but stuff like this. He didn’t have to do this.
Jill DeWit: Right? He could afford to pay the taxes. He could have bought the house, he could afford that.
Steven Butala: Or maybe he looks at the deal, he says, “The mansion costs X. The [inaudible 00:11:14] costs Y. I’m going to make 22% on this thing, or I’m going to make 48%. You know what, 48% of my money, it’s not good enough. I’m going to move on to the next deal.”
Jill DeWit: That’s true.
Steven Butala: Instead, he goes into it. Really, If you read the media and all this stuff about this specifically case, you have to ask yourself, what else has he done? This is the one thing that he got busted on. But what has he done in his whole career, if this is how he approaches stuff? To really bend the rules and bend them to the point where they break and be so cavalier about it to leave a massive paper trail and a video trail. Don’t run your business like this? You don’t have to… If there’s some shady stuff going on, just stop it.
Jill DeWit: I agree.
Steven Butala: Or do a different type of deal.
Jill DeWit: I agree. Yeah. I completely agree.
Steven Butala: Well, you’ve done it again. You spent another 15 minutes or so listening to Land Academy Show, join us next time for another interesting episode.
Jill DeWit: And we answer your questions, post it on our online community, landinvestors.com. It is free.
Steven Butala: You are not alone in your real estate ambition. I just don’t think you have to cheat to win.
Jill DeWit: I apologize. I didn’t have a whole lot to add.
Steven Butala: That’s okay. I knew you wouldn’t Jill.
Jill DeWit: I know the story. I know how you feel about it. I think we all feel the same way. I hope we all feel the same way and the only thing that’s shocking to me, is it’s still going on. A, he could afford it. I mean, and B, come on, you really think you’re above the law here and no one’s going to catch up with you?
Jill DeWit: Look, we personally took our Google, not that there’s anything going on, but I just don’t want Google on my counter listening to my, every word’s. Nevermind, my cell phone’s picking it up, but, whatever. But, you shouldn’t be doing anything wrong and if you are, don’t be… He’s just like talking about it in the emails and everything. So to me, it’s like a cavalier, I’m above it all-
Steven Butala: Yeah, me too.
Jill DeWit: … kind of thing too that makes it a little bit worse.
Steven Butala: Have you ever split property? I have, tons of times split property. It’s very hard. You’ve got to do with a bunch of people at the county and if you walked in there… Here’s one extreme. If you walk in the county and say, “I’m going to split this property.” What they’re going to say to you immediately is no. You can’t split it.
Jill DeWit: Yeah. No.
Steven Butala: Even though you can, and most people are going to say, “Okay, thanks. I guess I would try.” And walk out.
Jill DeWit: It’s true.
Steven Butala: And walk out. I’m not talking about… That’s not what this guy did.
Jill DeWit: No.
Steven Butala: Because Jill and I wouldn’t take no for an answer. We would sit there and manipulate the situation and I’m not saying break the rules or even bend them. We would say, “Yeah, we’re going to split it because [crosstalk 00:14:02] we read the statutes.” In fact, you’ve never read the statutes.
Jill DeWit: Exactly.
Steven Butala: I’m sure of it. I’ve read them. I’m right, you’re wrong and so together, we’re going to split this property.
Jill DeWit: Exactly.
Steven Butala: So we can do this real hard and take a long time or I can give you this package that I put together with some cupcakes by the way, because we respect what you do here at the county and we’re going to go through it together and hopefully, maybe in a few weeks we’ll get it done. That is not bending the rules. That’s acclimating yourself to an environment and getting the stuff that you want out of the end and everybody’s smiling and laughing while it’s happening, hopefully.
Steven Butala: It’s not lying and illegally splitting property or buying a property with the intent to split it illegally and then letting the people who purchase the property from you-
Jill DeWit: Yeah, figure it out.
Steven Butala: … deal with all the BS for five years from now.
Jill DeWit: Exactly.
Steven Butala: That’s my point to this Pritzker thing present.
Jill DeWit: Thank you. Wherever you’re watching or wherever you’re listening, please subscribe and rate us there. We are, Steve and Jill.
Steven Butala: Steve and Jill. Information-
Jill DeWit: and inspiration-
Steven Butala: … to buy undervalued property.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me directly at steven@BuWit.com.
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