Yesterday, guilty verdicts were announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Robert J. Shields, Jr., Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, of Thomas Hawkins, 49 and John Racasi, 52, half-brothers and both of Chicago. Both men, former analysts for the Cook County Board of Review, were convicted on federal conspiracy, bribery, and fraud charges for accepting $1,500 to facilitate reducing by more than $10,000 property taxes on three residential properties.
According to court evidence, former Chicago police officer, Ali Haleem, who is awaiting sentencing on other federal charges was introduced to Hawkins in July 2008, who proceeded to introduce him to Racasi. In September 2008 the street discussed and agreed to reduce the assessed values on properties Haleem owned in Chicago and Burbank, for a three-year period beginning with 2008 tax year. At the same time they also agreed to reduce the assessed value on a property in Tinley Park, that was owned by another person.
Court evidence also revealed that Hawkins and Racasi also reduced property tax assessments on 10 condominium units in Chicago and were expecting bribe payments that Haleem would collect from the property owner once the reduction was verified.
Both men remain free on bond while awaiting sentencing, which U.S. District Judge John Tharp set for 2 p.m. on February 25, 2014.