The Oak Park home of famous chemist Dr. Percy Julian will not be included in the Cook County Tax Sale scheduled to begin Nov. 5, after all.
Faith Julian, Percy Julian’s daughter, had created a GoFundMe campaign on Sept. 20 in order to raise money to help pay down the back taxes on her family’s famous home and for other living expenses.
At the time, she said she was led to believe that her home would be included in the annual sale of properties with delinquent taxes. Julian said she owes about $118,000 in unpaid property taxes on the home. The delinquent taxes are from the 2018, 2019 and 2020 tax years, she said.
On Oct. 1, however, she updated the GoFundMe, announcing that the home will not be included in the tax sale.
During an interview on Oct. 12, Oak Park Township Assessor Ali ElSaffar confirmed that his office helped Julian file for a disability exemption in March 2020, which also included the 2018 tax year.
By law, if a certificate of error exists for a designated year, then the county treasurer must remove the property from the sale. A list of properties in Oak Park Township scheduled to be on the upcoming tax sale did not include the Julian home.
“This is just buying time,” ElSaffar said, adding that the Julian house will likely go to tax sale in May 2022, when the tax sale for delinquent 2019 taxes will be held.
“But that doesn’t mean she’ll lose her house in May 2022,” ElSaffar said. “For owner-occupied homes, there are a lot of protections. The house probably wouldn’t be sold to a tax buyer for two-and-a-half years after May 2022.”
During that period, ElSaffar said, Julian will have the opportunity to redeem the taxes on the home, but that won’t come without additional costs.
“The longer it takes [for Julian to redeem the taxes], the more interest, charges and fees,” the assessor said.
In an interview on Oct. 11, Julian said she’s doing everything she can to avoid the May 2022 tax sale.
“I certainly don’t want to have to pay somebody [very high] interest to buy my house back,” she said. “I’ve reached out to a lot of organizations and I have some friends reaching out for me to different organizations, but nothing has come of that yet.”
As of Oct. 12, Julian had raised over $17,000 of her roughly $1.2 million goal, which includes not only the amount required to pay down the taxes, but also funds needed for home repairs and medical expenses accumulated after suffering a decline in her health in 2017.
The Julians were among the first Blacks to integrate Oak Park, when they purchased their East Avenue home in the village in 1950. Shortly after they purchased the home, there were two attempts to set it on fire. Dr. Julian, however, refused to move.
“I know that my parents — they’d be turning over in their graves at the thought of this house going up for tax sale,” Julian said, during a phone interview with Wednesday Journal in September.
To access the GoFundMe online, visit: https://bit.ly/3ibgbcI.