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Mike Madigan, John Cullerton’s law firms also profit from property-tax cases

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan | Sun-Times files

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan | Sun-Times files

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Updated: November 8, 2013 6:02AM

Like Ald. Edward M. Burke, two powerful Democratic legislators from Chicago also run law firms that do big business winning property-tax refunds for their clients.

Madigan & Getzendanner, headed by Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan (D-Chicago), has gotten more than $43.9 million in property-tax refunds since 2003 for Chicago landowners and $13.6 million for suburban Cook County property owners, according to the Cook County treasurer’s office, which issues the refunds.

Madigan’s firm won most of those victories in court in Cook County, where judges awarded his clients more than $53 million in refunds in that period.

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) is a partner in a law firm that has won more than $27.7 million in property-tax refunds in Chicago and suburban Cook County since 2003 — Thompson Coburn, a St. Louis firm that merged with Cullerton’s old firm, Fagel & Haber.

Cullerton spokeswoman Rikeesha Phelon says the Senate president “doesn’t handle” any tax appeals himself, that the firm has five other lawyers who handle those cases, including his brother, Patrick Cullerton.

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