Oak Park Village Hall selling manager's home at 24 percent loss

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By Marty Stempniak

Staff Reporter

Updated Nov. 22, 2011 2:45 p.m.

The Village of Oak Park is selling its top administrator's former home, and doing so at a 24 percent loss.

After five years at the top of village hall, the two-bedroom, two-bath house which Village Manager Tom Barwin has been renting went on the market in August. The home, located on the 1000 block of South Lombard, has long been owned by village hall.

Trustees approved the sale in a 5-0 vote on Monday, with two members absent.

Barwin has been renting the home since April 2008 (most recently at $1,300 a month). It was supposed to be a temporary fix until he sold his former home in Michigan, but the economy tanked and selling his house took much longer than originally anticipated.

Realtor Molly Surowitz said in August that the village was hoping to fetch $300,000, after first buying the home for $341,722 in 2004. But according to village documents, Oak Park is selling the home for $83,322 less, at $258,500, to Cory and Mechelle Wesley.

Oak Park is also throwing in $30,000 in loans and grants ($7,500 paid by ComEd) as part of a program started several years ago when adjacent Barrie Park was undergoing massive environmental remediation. Some 100 homes in the neighborhood were eligible for the program, and more than 90 took advantage, according to the village.

This was the last of six homes bought by the village in 2004 to be resold as part of the Barrie Park Buyout Program. Some 30 properties were eligible.

In a phone interview Monday, Barwin said he'll miss south Oak Park, but he's excited to explore a different part of the village. He's currently living in an "undisclosed bunker," he joked, that he's renting near Chicago and Harlem avenues.

When he originally started with the village in 2006, Barwin said he hoped to put in at least five years. But after the move, he's unsure how his future will unfold in Oak Park.

"The way it is around here, you just try to get through a day or a week at a time," he said.

The original documents for the sale said the proceeds would go toward creating an energy fund and offsetting cuts to the Community Development Block Grant program. But Barwin told trustees the money would just be lumped into Oak Park's 2012 budget and not used for any specific programs.

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Q from Oak Park  

Posted: November 30th, 2011 11:45 AM

Dooper, you are not alone with thinking Silly is Barwin. Silly is coming apart now. He doesn't say why anything the village does is good. Only says they are good.


Posted: November 28th, 2011 7:38 PM

Sorry Silly, I don't know who Watson and Q are. Rather arrogant of you to think nobody has issues or opinions about the Village. People who speak out are not always politically motivated as you obviously are. Are you Tom Barwin?


Posted: November 28th, 2011 8:48 AM

Q I'll use your own words: I think people are loosing interest in your always NEGATIVE, ALL problems approach with the folks at Village Hall.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: November 27th, 2011 11:56 PM

Watson, when someone rents an apartment, home, etc., they are responsible for the gas, electric and water. The taxes are still the responsibility of the owner. Property taxes are the majority part of what makes up a monthly rent. The Village if wanted, could have gave him place at no cost. It's all up to the board what they want to offer, unless there are current laws on the Village books, which can simply be changed by a board vote.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: November 27th, 2011 11:51 PM

Watson, I thought when Barwin went to Colorado to try and get a job, and they turned him down for lack of qualifications, and returned to his job back in Oak Park, that it was all a private affair and W.J. found it out, and then published it, and included the part where Barwin didn't want the job anyway. He has his right to privacy as everyone does, but when spending tax payers money, I would think there must be something about being able to show the tax payers.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: November 27th, 2011 11:48 PM

Silly, I think people are loosing interest in your always positive no problems approach with the folks at Village Hall.


Posted: November 27th, 2011 11:36 PM

Political bunk! Thats all these posts are! People can see right through them. Watson Q, and Dooper seem to be the same person. Hmmm who could that be????


Posted: November 27th, 2011 11:10 PM

Intersting point, Q. The trustees must have realized that Barwin lacked a committment to our village when he announced his intentions to apply for that job in Colorado. His overall performance has been a mixed bag and he's probably not long for Oak Park. There remain questions about this rental agreement including specifics dealing with the overall marketing effort and are any property taxes owed? So far, nobody who knows is prepared to speak on these matters.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: November 27th, 2011 8:30 PM

When companies relocate people, and are paying their housing costs, they have a time limit. Does Oak Park have one? Maybe and if they did, how long is it. I think it was all about Barwin needing to find the right buyer for his home. The type of buyer that was willing to pay Barwin the right money so Barwin did not lose 25 percent on his private sale, but Oak Park tax payers sure did.


Posted: November 27th, 2011 5:02 PM

What exactly was the reasoning behind not putting the house up for sale for more than a year? Were the trustees waiting for Barwin to make a decision regarding purchasing the property? It appears that taxpayer interests were sacrificed in order to accomodate the whims of the village manager. Seems blantantly unfair and ended up costing us more than $80,000. We lose again! Trustee Brewer especially had a obligation considering his background in real estate. Who can we trust at Village Hall?

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: November 27th, 2011 2:23 PM

They come with experience to serve you, the tax payer. David Pope, ?"Formerly a principal with Price Waterhouse's Strategy Consulting Practice." Does he make decisions based on return for tax payers? Glenn Brewer, ?"Prior experience in real estate". That experience didn't lend well to tax payers with the sale of Barwin's rental. John Hedges, "Served the local business community as vice president of the Madison Street Business Association."? What does he wan

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: November 27th, 2011 2:22 PM

Ray Johnson, ?"28 years with HSBC, the world's second largest bank, where he currently is a Program Manager/AVP for Community Investment" Oak Park is a community. Any good investing going on for tax payers? Colette Lueck, "Managing Director for the Illinois Children's Mental Health Partnership." She should have an understanding how the Oak Park layoffs would effect the people laid off, and would have made strong attempts to prevent that.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: November 27th, 2011 2:22 PM

Adam Salzman, ?"Private practice focusing on disability rights, labor, employment and administrative law." Suppose to be working for labor rights. No rights to the labor laid off. Bob Tucker, "Corporate General Counsel & Chief Risk Officer for Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago (NHS), a nonprofit organization dedicated to affordable housing and improving neighborhoods in Chicago. He should be able to help the homeless with affordable housing where he works instead of upro

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: November 27th, 2011 1:57 PM

Watson, you are correct that Barwin should have gone after her, and Lesnor, a friend of her's should have too. They are suppose to work for the tax payers, not for their friends. Since the board hires the day to day manager, they can fire him if they thought he was irresponsible with money. Obviously they don't. After reading the trustees backgrounds in business and non profits organizations, it's easier to understand why they go along with it.


Posted: November 27th, 2011 1:46 PM

Get yourself a new mechanic. An honorable person will tell you if it's worth spending the money on repairs. The computer consultant proved to be dishonest. She knew that that PeopleSoft was not appropriate for Oak Park needs but gouged taxpayers for more than $250,000 before determining that the system wouldn't work. Barwin and Lesnor should have been required to give testimony under oath and a real effort undertaken to recover the payments. A disgraceful example of incompetence and fraud.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: November 27th, 2011 1:43 PM

Watson, forget previous attempts. Explain how the process works because I never understood the system, but that doesn't mean I don't understand how to change it.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: November 27th, 2011 1:41 PM

Silly, you have the logic that makes people who do deceitful things seem logical.


Posted: November 27th, 2011 12:08 PM

If I buy a truck when I only need a compact car, it doesnt mean my truck wont need repair and upkeep. Truck upkeep and repair is more than a compact car. The decision to buy a truck was made and the appropriate needed expenditures were made. Whether or not the truck was needed is another story. If the bill came in under 25K, then thats how they get paid.


Posted: November 27th, 2011 11:57 AM

Silly, even if "the going rate" was $275,000, why would Barwin issue approx. a dozen checks just under the $25,000 amount that would have needed board approval? When Barwin got caught he claimed he didn't know he was doing anything wrong. The Village Board accepted that excuse. In the article about outsourcing Bldg Maint. dept and not giving the employee with the most experience a job, Barwin said other factors apply. Obviously, the other factors didn't apply to him or he wouldn't be here.


Posted: November 27th, 2011 3:02 AM

Millions spent on a system that didn't work and $275,000 wasted on a consultant. Keep in mind that the Village Board didn't even bother to check out this consultant recommended to them by the Finance Director and Village Manager. The board never requested references from her or sought other bids for the project. The entire process was grossly mismanaged. And where did the buck stop? Not at Village Hall. A multi-million mistake that ending costing a lot of innocent Village employees their jobs.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: November 27th, 2011 2:21 AM

Silly, you are right but wrong. If the person who was paid the going rate new what she was doing, she would have ask what program are you using, and then said, that is made for very large corporation, etc.. Instead, she, the CFI for the Village and Barwin moved 275 thousand dollars of tax payer money. Who is responsible? The woman , CFI and Barwin. There was absolutely no coulda, woulda or shoulda about it, Silly, and you know it.


Posted: November 27th, 2011 1:56 AM

The $275k was for work performed at the going rate. Coulda, woulda, shoulda doesnt quite fit here. nice try.


Posted: November 27th, 2011 12:32 AM

Q makes the correct call but it's a daunting task. There are certainly residents of Oak Park who could bring a new approach to Village government. Candidates would be trying to wrest control from a powerful political machine. Previous attempts to best the VMA have fallen short due to a lack of funds and organization.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: November 26th, 2011 11:53 PM

Watson and Dooper, you are both right. So what are you going to do about it? Isn't anyone qualified enough to start running for seats on the board? The board members, manager and top guy at public works all must laugh and have a great time laughing at all of the bitching, because there is not one person on this posting board that will say, "I will run"!


Posted: November 26th, 2011 9:21 PM

That's just the tip of the iceberg, Dooper. Village Hall spending has been out of whack for decades. The rule of open and competitive bidding for service and supply contracts was basically abandoned. Tens of millions of dollars have been funnelled to consultants, special interests, lobbyists and well-connected law firms. Village Hall archives are crammed with expensive but obsolete reports. The trustees have effectively reduce the value of staff and citizen commissions.


Posted: November 26th, 2011 8:33 PM

You have it backwards Silly. If the board had not wasted money they would not have had to layoff employees. If they stop ridiculous spending they will not have to layoff employees. If Barwin had not approved $275,000 in checks just under the $25,000 amount that needed board approval we would have had $275,000 more. They saved $100,000 by eliminating 6 jobs. What does that tell you? I guess we could have saved almost 18 jobs if that $275,000 wasnt paid out to friends.


Posted: November 26th, 2011 5:14 PM

Not exactly a lean operation when the board is still spending millions of dolars to pay outside experts. The trustees didn't give any thought about the people and their families who face ruin due to these reckless and unnecessary firings. Silly and her beloved Village Board care about protecting the interests of the wealthy. I'm sure this pleases the Koch brothers that Oak Park is hostile to the average wage earner. Village employees didn't cause the mess but are paying for it. Viva cruelty.


Posted: November 26th, 2011 1:15 PM

How can you have it both ways. You complain they waste tax dollars, but then when they make the operation more lean and save tax dollars you STILL complain. Go figure


Posted: November 26th, 2011 1:12 PM

Dooper is right. Working men and women don't have a champion on the Oak Park Village Board. The trustees love to hear that Barwin has axed another employee. Funny how there's no sacrifice being asked from upper management. Always looking out for Number 1.


Posted: November 25th, 2011 9:11 PM

It is hard to keep up with the issues of the Village Board. Trustee Hedges is quoted in the news saying how proud he is to layoff 3 building maintenance employees to save taxpayers money. Really, he put 3 VOP employees in unemployment lines and hired a company that doesnt give health benefits to its employees except for management employees. Hedges wants to layoff more village employees and hire more companies like this. As a taxpayer I am ashamed of you. You can save money elsewhere.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: November 25th, 2011 8:19 PM

T.J., it would be nice if some new candidates actually became known to the tax payers and what they want to change. I don't recall anytime that candidates get out and really push their platform. This time would be very important since there are so many choices by the village that the tax payers have recently paid for. The new idea with solar panels still needs clarification but it will go forward regardless.


Posted: November 25th, 2011 6:21 PM

Where are the responses from Ray Johnson or the new board members on these comments? Why are you so quiet?

OP Rez  

Posted: November 25th, 2011 10:55 AM

Vote early and Vote often.

T.J. from OP  

Posted: November 25th, 2011 10:24 AM

I have to agree with Q. There are no ramifications for poor decision making by the village board. Well, none for the board anyway. The taxpayers foot the bill for their incompetent and unethical actions. Then they win the next election with low voter turn out. You get what you deserve if you don't vote these self serving public officals out of office.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: November 24th, 2011 2:05 PM

Bell, understand it very well. You can't blame Barwin for all he has been given. He only takes what he can. It's up to tax payers to join and remove the irresponsible decisions of the board. That won't happen because people don't like change because it takes effort. They rather enjoy complaining. The village manager, head of public and building and head of village board all know this, and taxpayers keep giving so as far as they are concerned, they think they are right what they are doing.

Bell = Coughlin  

Posted: November 23rd, 2011 9:23 PM



Posted: November 23rd, 2011 5:34 PM

Spare us the sad song, Mr. Barwin. There's no reason to worry about getting "through a day or week at a time". You wanted to leave Oak Park for better job in Colorado but were rejected and our trustees took you back. You got caught playing fast and loose with taxpayer money but the trustees took you back. They'll still want you even after learning you were able to slide on paying property taxes. You've been treated more than fairly and tapped us for more than $1,000,000. Quit your bellyachin'

OP Tax Serf from Oak Park  

Posted: November 23rd, 2011 4:55 PM

Sorry, I didn't read the full thread to get the context. I needed to vent as I watch some of our neighbors move closer towards foreclosure with these high taxes and the irresponsible village waste. In fairness, the village should be obligated for the tax bill. However, $1300/mo is a joke for an OP house. Fair market rent is easily well over $2000/mo. OP should pay the tax and get an "independent" appraiser to determine a fair rent. And TB should pay that difference for that rental

OP Tax Serf from Oak Park  

Posted: November 23rd, 2011 2:51 PM

"but you do realize that the taxes are taken into account when determining the amount of rent." Not exactly! If you try to pass on high village taxes to renters, renters can go to other areas. Regardless of what the taxes or your other costs are, the market decides what your rents will be. If your taxes and costs are too high and the market does not allow you enough rents, you lose. You can then subsidize it with other funds, cut back on your maintenance, or eventually get foreclosed.

Mom Said No, So Ask Dad from Oak Park  

Posted: November 23rd, 2011 10:09 AM

It is profoundly disturbing to see this "energy fund" crop up again in this completely unrelated transaction after being shot down once already by the village board in electric provider deal. Our "sustainability" department seems to specialize in sustaining itself by helping itself to taxpayer money by hook or by crook.

All wrong  

Posted: November 23rd, 2011 8:31 AM

A little (tax code) knowledge is a dangerous thing. None of you understand it correctly.


Posted: November 22nd, 2011 11:43 PM

Laughing-Of course the owner pays the taxes and not the renter but you do realize that the taxes are taken into account when determining the amount of rent. The only reason Barwin was able to rent the property was because he was a village employee so he got a below market rent. The village should have simply sold the property and given Barwin a stipend for 6-12 months to rent a home until his place sold, not a multi-year rental which delayed the village from selling the property sooner.


Posted: November 22nd, 2011 11:32 PM

Enuf-Is there a legal difference betwen a rental and a lease? Another question is if the rental price Barwin paid was "market" or if he got a better deal as the property was village owned and was included as part of his employment agreement. In that case, wouldn't this be considered part of his compensation, adding to his actual cash salary, meaning that he was actually paid more than his quoted salary.

john murtagh  

Posted: November 22nd, 2011 11:29 PM

Deep pockets in VMA do not guarantee 2013 election wins. There are five reasons 1)4 incumbent seats open in next election 2) Independent Lynn Kassin ran against the VMA slate with about $1,000 and a small volunteer force and finished within 10 points of all 3 VMA candidates 3)the VMA spent about $20,000 in the 2011 election - about $6,700 per candidate or nearly 7:1 versus Kassin, 4) election costs are going down -- electronic media 5) After 4 years of the 7-0 VMA majority, it's time!


Posted: November 22nd, 2011 11:14 PM

By bringing this point up, you all are just wasting more of your own tax dollars. If the Village has to pay them in the long run it will just come out of the Village coffers. Shame on you all. At least your logic is consistent.


Posted: November 22nd, 2011 11:12 PM

Since when does the renter pay the property taxes? I believe the owner does. Only in some commercial space do commercial tenants pay a portion of the taxes.


Posted: November 22nd, 2011 11:01 PM

Somebody owes $25,000 in back property taxes. Now who do you think is going to get stuck with that bill? My guess is Village Hall staff, the trustees and outside legal counsel are scrambling to figure out how to dodge collection. One thing is for certain. Barwin's not going to pay up. Look for a backroom deal to be made over the holidays. So much for transparency and accountability.

john murtagh  

Posted: November 22nd, 2011 10:09 PM

Enuf - re Monday's lack of broadcast recording, a transcription of all board meetings is created for every meeting. A tape of the meeting is also made even if there is no broadcast. Both are part of the public record and can be obtained from the Village Clerk Office. If they are unwilling to release it, you can send an FOIA (Freedom of Information Act). Let me know if you need any help.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: November 22nd, 2011 9:27 PM

As per 35 ILCS 200/9 195 (Leasing of exempt property): " ... when property which is exempt from taxation is leased to another whose property is not exempt ... taxes on that property shall be collected in the same manner as on property that is not exempt, and the lessee shall be liable for those taxes." Comparable properties in the same neighborhood pay about $8,000 annual property taxes, or $667 / month. I will follow-up with the Cook County Assessor Office.


Posted: November 22nd, 2011 8:14 PM

Didi, what's your point? Don't you think the Village should have put the property on the market once it was confirmed that it was safe to inhabit. Why the delay? Did the trustees keep it off the market to take care of Village Manager Barwin? There's a good reason why none of them are talking. They know that this turned out to be a very bad deal for taxpayers. Barwin rented an Oak Park home for below market value and skipped out on paying the property taxes. You and I and OP taxpayers got burned.


Posted: November 22nd, 2011 6:51 PM

Human nature tells me that Barwin will stay on a little too long, maybe long enough for everything to catch up to him.

Didi from Oak Park  

Posted: November 22nd, 2011 5:47 PM

Do I remember correctly that the village purchased some homes adjacent to Barrie Park as a goodwill gesture of sorts when the environmental cleanup became necessary? I'm sure that those real estate purchases saved some families from bankruptcy. I am usually fiscally conservative, but if my understanding of the facts is correct, I do not consider this injustice. The village helped out its residents. The housing market has since fallen. We all are suffering from that, and it is not VOP's fault


Posted: November 22nd, 2011 5:38 PM

What's the story? The Wednesday Journal spoke to Village Manager Barwin about moving out the rental property but there's no mention of property tax payments. Has anyone at Village Hall or the OP Township Assessor's office been willing or able to answer the important question. Does Barwin owe property taxes for the period of time he occupied the premises? Are taxes due? Who gets stuck with the bill? Let's get this matter cleared up ASAP! I cannot understand why Ray Johnson is keeping quiet.

Mike S. from Oak Park  

Posted: November 22nd, 2011 4:00 PM

More secrecy by Barwin. If he is supposed to live here, why is he getting away with living in a secret location. More dishonesty. Secretly trying to take the house money and make a secret slush fund for his pet projects, more dishonesty. This guy has no integrity.


Posted: November 22nd, 2011 2:56 PM

It's up to the trustees to provide taxpayers with an explanation. Let's see if they are willing to stand up and tell us what went wrong and how this going to be resolved. Saul P nailed it with his take on Barwin. You can't trust the man. He always seems to be working the angles. Bad news is we're likely stuck with him. I can't imagine any other community trying to recruit a guy with so many questions about his integrity.

Saul P  

Posted: November 22nd, 2011 2:29 PM

Good luck getting Barwin to ever answer any questions. Remember him cutting consecutive $25,000 checks to consultants to so the board didn't know about it? Any reporter that presses him gets ignored and blackballed. So this is what we have left. Do what I did and move to Berwyn. At least they don't pretend not to be crooks.

Tom Scharre  

Posted: November 22nd, 2011 1:50 PM

The only thing that's transparent about this bunch is that they feel there are two sets of rules -- one for the lowly taxpayers and one for themselves.


Posted: November 22nd, 2011 1:46 PM

Adam Salzman, Bob Tucker and Ray Johnson promised voters greater transparency and more accountability. It's time to deliver, fellas. Get the facts out there on this property tax question. Please don't let Barwin claim he wasn't aware of the law. He's already played that card.

OP Neighbor  

Posted: November 22nd, 2011 1:06 PM

Enuf-The sale of the property was closed yesterday. I saw the new owners and I also confirmed the outcome of the meeting with a trustee.


Posted: November 22nd, 2011 11:53 AM

I am not sure how much money, compared to effort and time it would take to run. I do, however, remember reading that the VMA spend many times over what the opponents spend. But heck, isn't that just the VMA way...over spend and once in office under-deliver. I wonder how much of the overspending went to "consultants"?

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: November 22nd, 2011 11:49 AM

My previous comments are simply items that need to be clarified, as the proposed ordinance and agenda for last night's village board meeting were vague. They are not intended to be accusatory or based on the presumption of anything improper re. property taxes at 1041 S. Lombard Ave. For some reason, the board meeting was not video streamed last night, nor is it archived online, so I am unaware of the meeting proceedings and outcomes. Any insight is encouraged and welcome.

OP Neighbor  

Posted: November 22nd, 2011 11:25 AM

Like Phil of Ideas I have only been in the village a short time but I what I have seen and experienced with village government definitely leaves me with a poor opinion. Bell-if we all band together and put a grass roots effort together maybe we can make a change for the good!


Posted: November 22nd, 2011 11:16 AM

Money is the key word here, Phil. The political machine that runs Oak Park is able to build up a huge war chest to effectively crush any opposition.

Phil of Ideas  

Posted: November 22nd, 2011 11:11 AM

I am no VOP troll, but I wish some of the regulars here did put their money where their mouth is and run for office. I have only been here two years, and lack the institutional knowledge to do much beyond make my snarky comments. Seems the time and effort could be better used. I would certainly vote for you!


Posted: November 22nd, 2011 11:08 AM

Ali El Saffar is not going to get involved in this mess. It's clearly up to President Pope and Manager Barwin to explain why property taxes were not paid. They may have thought they could get away with this latest scam but now need to come clean. Exactly how much is owed. The Village is holding tens of thousands in "bonus" money for Barwin. Put a lien on it until this matter is resoved.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: November 22nd, 2011 10:50 AM

Property that is owned by local governments is typically exempt from paying property tax, unless the property is leased to a non-exempt lessee or otherwise used with a view to profit. If leased to a non-exempt lessee, then the lessee is liable for property taxes. Since the Cook County Assessor lists the property as exempt, has Barwin (the lessee) been paying property taxes since leasing from the village in 2008? Perhaps OP Township Assessor Ali El Saffar can clarify.

OP Neighbor  

Posted: November 22nd, 2011 10:48 AM

I agree with j. oak park but sadly, enuf demonstrates far too much common sense to be part of village government.


Posted: November 22nd, 2011 10:44 AM

I nominate Enuf as the new Pope of Oak Park... the old one just hasn't worked out.

Jeff Schroeder from Oak Park  

Posted: November 22nd, 2011 10:44 AM

As usually, Mr. Barwin (even when it is out of his control) has proven he has the Midas touch in reverse (to borrow a phrase from Graham Nash) when it comes to finance.

OP Neighbor  

Posted: November 22nd, 2011 10:38 AM

Enuf-You are tenacious! I love it!

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: November 22nd, 2011 10:29 AM

@realitysux: as per IL Compiled Statutes (35 ILCS 200/15 60); "Any such property leased by a municipality shall remain exempt, and the leasehold interest of the lessee shall be assessed under Sec. 9 195 of this Act"; which states; "when property which is exempt from taxation is leased to another whose property is not exempt ... taxes on that property shall be collected in the same manner as on property that is not exempt, and the lessee shall be liable for those taxes."


Posted: November 21st, 2011 11:49 PM

Does this mean Barwin is going too? Why would the Village Board sell the house from under him? Is the bloom off the rose? Stay tuned.


Posted: November 21st, 2011 11:14 PM

Oak Park taxpayers took the loss. It was clearly a conflict of interest for the trustees to rent the property to Village Manager Tom Barwin. The house should have been for sale once it was determined that there was no danger to the public. Rather than get it out on the market, the pols gave a sweetheart deal to their pal. Did they even try to break even on behalf of taxpayers? Of course not! Barwin is paid $180,000 in salary and benefits. Why does he still ask residents to pass the hat for him?


Posted: November 21st, 2011 11:10 PM

Enuf - According to the Illinois department of revenue...The Illinois Constitution allows exemptions for property that belongs to the State of Illinois, units of local government and school districts,etc. It apparently qualifies as a local government owned property and therefore the exemption, I guess. A better question is how the rental price was calculated and whether it was artificially low due to the absence of property taxes. Landlords include taxes they owe when setting rental rates

Surreal from Oak Park  

Posted: November 21st, 2011 8:12 PM

I keep wondering if I'm still living in Oak Park or has the boundary separating us from Chicago changed and we are now part of "Chicago politics as usual."

Here we go again! from Oak Park  

Posted: November 21st, 2011 7:27 PM

Isn't it time that Oak Park got out of the Real Estate business. They never handle the tax payers money with any fiscal responsibility. Maybe it is time to change the people who have their hands on our wallets.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: November 21st, 2011 6:24 PM

@Q from Oak Park ... I have provided public comment many times at village board meetings and Plan Commission meetings. Firstly, one is allowed only 3 minutes. Secondly, questions, request for clarifications, and comments are routinely ignored by the board, summarily dismissed with silence. Worst yet, sometimes a board member responds with a factually incorrect retort, but there is no opportunity for rebuttal. They always get the last word during a public meeting.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: November 21st, 2011 6:05 PM

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park, it would be terrific if you were allowed to ask Pope and Barwin, on camera at the meetings and have it televised on Channel 6 VOP. It would be laughable to watch how they would scramble for anything that would seem reasonable. You never will get them to answer anything like that in a public meeting.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: November 21st, 2011 6:01 PM

Of course it took Barwin's home in Michigan a while to sell. You don't think Barwin was going to give it away, do you. Does anyone think that the people who are responsible with Oak Park tax payers money handle their own finances the same way? They bought Westgate at the asking price, and sell Barwin's home at the losing price.


Posted: November 21st, 2011 5:51 PM

Is Barwin required to live in Oak Park? It says a lot about the man that he was unwilling to make any personal commitment to our community and instead convinced the trustees that he required taxpayer supported housing. Watch for Barwin to now claim that it's too expensive to live in Oak Park and ask for an exemption to the residency requirement.

OP Neighbor  

Posted: November 21st, 2011 4:40 PM

Enuf is Enuf has a point-why is the property listed as exempt on the assessor's web site?

Mel Rose from Oak Park  

Posted: November 21st, 2011 4:23 PM

As I recall Tom Barwin wanted to buy the house but not at the listed price...which in the end was too high for the market....

Professor Peter Van Nostrand   

Posted: November 21st, 2011 3:43 PM

My statistical analysis shows this to be a typical Oak Park deal.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: November 21st, 2011 3:42 PM

It is my understanding that village-owned property leased for income is not exempt from paying property taxes. The village-owned property at 1041 S. Lombard Ave. leased to Village Manager Barwin for $1,200/month is listed as 'exempt' by the Cook County Assessor Office, and pays no property taxes. Why is that?

epic lulz  

Posted: November 21st, 2011 3:21 PM

So after buying a DTOP property for a mere 1.5% off its 2007 bubble high, the VOP sells another property for 24% off it's 2004 pre top of bubble price? Yeah, the VOP really needs to get out of the real estate business. And those VOP staffers who keep trolling the WJ boards need to get back to work.

j.oak park  

Posted: November 21st, 2011 3:16 PM

sorry, none of the money from the sale of the house should go towards an energy fund. It should go to pay down village debt. period. if private citizens wish to fund an energy fund, then let them do it. no more crap initiatives in exchange for press releases about how green the village is, when we all know we are deep in the red.

j.oak park  

Posted: November 21st, 2011 3:13 PM

so Barwin has paid 54,000 in rent, which offsets some of the loss... let's sell it and get it off the public owned property list.

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: November 21st, 2011 3:12 PM

Buy high, sell low....er..wait...that's wrong isn't it?

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: November 21st, 2011 3:06 PM

The ordinance authorizing this sale is very vague. Does the purchase price ($258,000) include the $30,000 in grants and loans from the Barrie Park Program? Also, the meeting agenda states that staff recommends the sale proceeds be used for establishing an Energy Fund. Is this the same Energy Fund that was based on a contract fee taken from the Electric Aggregation Plan and then rejected a few weeks ago by the village board for lacking a coherent and specific description?

Anne from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: November 21st, 2011 3:00 PM

So earlier this month, the Village Board lays off 6 janitors to save $100K? And they've offset these "savings" by losing $83K, after giving the well-paid village administrator a 5-year break in his housing costs? Why didn't Tom Barwin buy the house back from Oak Park, let alone at the price the village paid?

i think i just heard... from Oak park  

Posted: November 21st, 2011 2:54 PM

The heads of John Murtaugh, Enuf is Enuf, Q, Taxpayer, Done all explode. Once they pull themselves together, I agree @SteakBurger, can't wait for their banter on this.

SteakBurger from Oak Park  

Posted: November 21st, 2011 2:46 PM

I can't wait for all the juicy comments about this...

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