Norridge taxpayers forking over $4.2 million in “economic incentive” payments to Norridge Marketplace owners
If you’re ever at the Norridge Marketplace (also known as the show property) at Harlem and Agatite, take a moment to look around you and say to yourself “my tax money is paying for that”. Because… guess what – it is.
Documents obtained from the Village of Norridge show Village trustees in April 2018 rubber stamped now-former Norridge Mayor James Chmura’s agreement to transfer $4.2 million dollars in tax money over a multi-year period, if certain sales conditions are met.
The second of $144,000 was made in May of this year.
Based on the text of the agreement, we should see another similar-sized payment being made to the Norridge Marketplace from the Village this month, as the Village government plans to raise it’s property tax levy another 32% payable in 2020.
Public tax for private corporate use
Back in 2014, the Village government slapped a 9% “amusement” tax on sales at the show property, which are normally not taxed since it is considered a service business, except for food and drink.
If the Village government expected at least $4.2 million in sales tax receipts from the amusement tax, it could have used this money to make police pension payments.
But instead of taking steps to reduce the property tax burden on residents… Norridge raised the property tax levy nearly 70% in two years.
The documents show the agreement to pay the money was made between the Village and the corporate entity “Hamhic LLC”.
Hamhic LLC operates under the name “Norridge Marketplace”, and is a joint venture between Hamilton Partners (“Ham”) and Michael Marchese’s Harlem Irving Companies (“hic”).
Marchese is the owner of the Harlem Irving Plaza, and has been a Norridge Improvement Party campaign contributor.
The agreement, and the authority to levy the tax, was made under the Village’s “Home Rule” authority.
The Village purchased a piece of the show property, planning on using it to build a new police station on it.
The Village has since backtracked on that decision, putting the property up for sale, with potential buyer Net 3 Real Estate offering $600,000.
Pensions not property funded, but corporate welfare still going
This is the third time the Village has signed an agreement with one of Marchese’s companies to divert millions of public dollars in corporate welfare to his profitable company.
In the 2000s the Village of Norridge government transferred millions to Marchese’s Harlem Irving companies to build the Target store.
In 2012 the Village signed another agreement that would pay Marchese $1.5 million for the X-Sport and then-Sports Authority buildout.
The Village is still paying for the X-Sport construction, having recently made a $120,000 payment in April to Marchese subsidiary “Forest Harlem Properties”.
Chmura commented last year to the Norridge-Harwood Heights News publication that sales taxes weren’t enough to make the police pension payments.
But, dear neighbors, taxpayers, and pension fund retirees, you’ll be happy to know – there’s always enough of our money in the Village treasury to further enrich Michael Marchese.