Paul L. Caron
Dean


Monday, August 9, 2010

Chicago Man Sues After Court Denies Property Tax Exemption for Racquetball Court-Turned 'Church' in Lakefront Mansion

Chicago Tribune, Man Who Turned Mansion Into Church Alleges Bias After Losing Tax Break:

George Michael says he simply wanted to give his ailing and deeply religious wife a place to worship when he transformed the racquetball court in his lakefront mansion [photograph here] into the Armenian Church of Lake Bluff.

Michael is now suing the village and state officials in federal court over the revocation of the tax exemption on his home, seeking more than $10 million and alleging his family has been persecuted because of its Armenian heritage. ...

Michael, a former executive at a Chicago bank taken over by the federal government this spring, denied that he founded his in-home church to avoid paying about $80,000 in taxes a year. ...

The 78-page lawsuit filed in June in Chicago federal court describes a family that sought respite for one member's illness in a "dream" mansion along Lake Michigan. With his wife, Susan Michael, weakened by multiple sclerosis, Michael converted his racquetball court into the church in 2007 and hosted services for his family and brother, Robert Michael, a fellow plaintiff, according to the lawsuit.
The family continues to worship in the home, said Michael, who was ordained a minister online.

The Illinois Department of Revenue initially approved the exemption, but a judge reversed it in July 2009, and that decision recently was affirmed again in court.

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2010/08/chicago-man-.html

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Comments

Late one night, I heard a couple in an adjacent hotel room yelling, "Oh, God." Would that qualify part of the hotel as a church for tax purposes, too?

You know that someone who was ordained a minister on-line must be serious about his faith.

Posted by: Woody | Aug 9, 2010 1:30:33 PM