County board hopeful’s campaign answers rivals, says he doesn’t have residency problem
BY BRIAN SLODYSKO Staff Reporter February 19, 2014 7:55PM
Richard Boykin at a campaign event. | Facebook photo
Updated: February 20, 2014 2:34AM
The campaign of Cook County board hopeful Richard Boykin said on Wednesday he lives in Oak Park — within the district he aspires to represent, not in suburban Will County, as some of his opponents have suggested.
The congressional staffer turned lobbyist previously declined to answer specific questions from the Sun-Times about his residency, as well as several questionable property tax deductions he claimed on homes in Will and Cook County.
The campaign changed its mind Wednesday in an attempt to head off Boykin’s critics, who pilloried Boykin over the residency issue in a report in the Sun-Times.
“Richard is separated and his wife lives in Bolingbrook,” spokeswoman Hanah Jubeh wrote in an email, referring to a home Boykin and his allegedly estranged wife have owned in suburban Will County since 2011. She said Boykin has lived in Oak Park since 2005.
Jubeh said Boykin — who is also a minister — was initially reticent to discuss the separation because it is a sensitive family issue.
The couple has not filed for divorce or a legal separation, Jubeh said. On Wednesday, Boykin’s campaign Facebook page indicated he is married and has one son.
Jubeh said Boykin, who hopes to represent parts of the West Side and western suburbs, bought the Bolingbrook house for his wife after they separated in 2011.
Since then, the couple has jointly collected a homestead exemption, which is a tax break allowed only on a homeowner’s primary residence, Will County property tax filings show.
However, during the same period of time, Boykin also collected a homestead exemption on an Oak Park condo he has owned since 2005, Cook County property records show.
Meanwhile, campaign filings and voter registration records list Boykin’s home address at a third property, a condo in Oak Park. Records show the candidate closed on the sale of that property on Oct. 10 — allowing him to meet the 30-day residency threshold required when he filed to run on Nov. 25 to replace 1st District Commissioner Earlean Collins, who is stepping down. While property records show the documents were finalized in October, Jubeh said Boykin actually moved into the residence in September.
A homestead tax break is already on the books for Boykin’s newest condo, but because the property was closed on late in the year, he will be allowed to receive the tax break without penalty during his first year at the residence.