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property tax fraud alert

prop tax board first half

ABOVE — tax assessment before meeting with Tax Board of Review — calculated taxes of $25,877

prop tax board 2nd half

ABOVE —– tax assessment after meeting with Tax Board of Review — calculated taxes of $9,285

The result — an illegal tax savings of in excess of $16,000 per year for Theokas & Richner!!!!

November 1, 2017

To the residents of Grosse Pointe Park and the Michigan community at large:

I am sorry to have to bring this felonious malfeasance engaged in by your former trusted Grosse Pointe Park municipal government officials, former Mayor Gregory Theokas &  former City Councilman Andrew Richner, to your attention!!

Sincerely,

Tom Van Lokeren ( contact: tvanlok@aol.com ) 1 Please send me an email so that I can keep you informed of city council meetings where this issue will be put on the agenda so that we can show up in force and demand that this thievery be prosecuted!!! or 2 please email personnel in city government listed at the bottom of this page demanding that something be done!!! Thank you so much.

public corruption with simple handshake and moneybackroom-deals-300x202back room deals picture of doors of meeting room

Public Corruption: public corruption involves a breach of public trust and/or abuse of position by federal, state, or local officials and their private sector accomplices.  Public corruption in any form is the misuse of a public or government office for private gain. Its existence is an indication that something has gone wrong in the management of the government office, whether it be federal, state, or local.

Several statutes, mostly codified in Title 18 of the United States Code, provide for federal prosecution of public corruption in the United States.

The principal crime here is a violation of:

Section 211.27 (1) of THE GENERAL PROPERTY TAX ACT of Michigan – –

which states in part:

A sale or other disposition by this state or an agency or political subdivision of this state of land acquired for delinquent taxes or an appraisal made in connection with the sale or other disposition or the value attributed to the property of regulated public utilities by a governmental regulatory agency for rate-making purposes is not controlling evidence of true cash value for assessment purposes.”

Theokas abused the power of his office in colluding with the 3 members of the Grosse Pointe Park Tax Board in persuading them to illegally shave off in excess of $267,800 of assessed value on the property below which they purchased for a song at a property tax auction:

nottingham building original 2009 photo

Can you tell me that the 12,000 square foot property pictured above with rents of $120,000 per year and a cash on cash return of approximately 35 percent, that it’s value for assessment purposes was $150,000? I didn’t think so!!!!!

prop tax board 2nd half

This is an outrage and a felony!!!!

 

WALL OF SHAME — ACTORS IN THE STONEWALLING AND COVER UP OF THEOKAS’/RICHNER’S CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES:

All of the individuals below have abdicated their responsibility for addressing the criminal acts that they have been made aware of ad nauseum!!

They have engaged in a game of passing the buck to the other to where nothing has been done to root out this corruption!!

Welcome to the Merry-Go-Round:

I report the crimes to Judge Jarboe.

Judge Jarboe refers it to Chief Poloni.

Chief Poloni refers it to City Attorney Dennis Levasseur.

Dennis Levasseur tells me to report the crimes to the appropriate law enforcement agency.

I report it to Chief Poloni to deafening silence.

Dennis Levasseur tells me “It is not the job of a the City Council to investigate alleged crimes or to begin a prosecution.” This was after copying him on many letters and emails  sent to The Mayor & City Council which met with deafening silence.

All the while City Manager Dale Krajniak is aware of everything including other criminal behavior engaged in by former Mayor Gregory Theokas that makes these reported shenanigans look like child’s play. Dale knows where all the bodies are buried so to speak. He has been at the helm of city government for well over two decades!!

 

prop tax poloni
prop tax carl jarboeGrosse Pointe Park Judge Carl Jarboe

prop tax levasseurGrosse Pointe Park City Attorney Dennis Levasseur of Bodman Law

prop tax dale krajniakCity Manager Dale Krajniak

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Mayor Denner

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Councilman Clark

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Councilman Grano

City Council photo 2015

Councilmem-ber Detwiler

prop tax ChouinardTNCouncilman Chouinard

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Councilman Robson

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Councilmem-ber Arora

PUBLIC CORRUPTION IS A FELONY ALONG WITH MANY OF THE ASSOCIATED CRIMES THAT GO WITH THE TERRITORY!!! Even a theft of $1,000 by a public official is a felony. Lying on an expense report for benefit is a felony. Your distinguished former public servants (pictured below) are well over stealing $100,000 now…closing in on $150,000!!! Gregory Theokas was elected to the Grosse Pointe Park City Council in 1995. He was Palmer Heenan’s right hand man as Mayor Pro Tem soon after and became mayor for the time between Heenans’ retirement and the election of a new mayor. Theokas retired from office upon the election of a new mayor in 2015.

theokasandheenanrichnerunivofmichigan

Picture on left: Theokas above to the right of Mayor Palamer Heenan

Picture on right: Richner on left of unidentified individual

In 2011 Theokas with partner Andrew Richner, abused his position as Mayor Pro Tem in rigging with the Grosse Pointe Park Board of Review–favorable treatment on the property taxes of a building he owned with Andrew Richner (pictured above) illegally saving them $16,577 in property taxes in just one year. Theokas is a Harvard Law School Graduate with an MBA from Harvard. Richner is a University of Michigan Law School Graduate who has held a number of prominent positions in public service over the years including being a Grosse Pointe Park city council member. He is now one of the entrusted few in charge of the University of Michigan’s future and well being. He is one of  8  members of The University of Michigan Board of Regents–the legal entity that controls the University of Michigan.  Can this man be trusted in any position serving the public interest? One would think that these two superior legal minds could have avoided getting their hands caught in the cookie jar! Once again complacency rules the day and egregious arrogance is caught like a deer in the head lights!
deer in the headlights

CAUGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

PLEASE READ ON…THANK YOU.

nottingham building original 2009 photo $125,000 Theft So Far……In 3 more years it will be over $200,000…..In 8 more years it will be over $300,000……In 13 more years it will be over $400,000…….As An Honest Property Tax Paying Grosse Pointe Park Resident–ARE YOU GOING TO LET THIS STAND??? We’ve got a swamp to drain right here in Grosse Pointe Park!!!

Through the years 2011 through 2017 former Grosse Pointe Park Mayor Gregory Theokas and former Grosse Pointe Park City Council Member Andrew Richner have lined their pockets with $130,000 of illegal property tax discounts conferred upon them illegally by the 2011 Grosse Pointe Park Board of Review (a body appointed by the Mayor and City Council) to meet with taxpayers who are contesting their tax assessment valuations for property tax purposes. Theokas & Richner met with the Board of Review on March 24, 2011 and obtained an obscene 64 percent discount in the taxable assessed value of a property they owned. This discount has given them massive discounts in their property taxes year after year ever since that meeting.  The State of Michigan rules for Boards of Review as promulgated by the Michigan State Tax Commission (see THE LAW section further down the page) states that the basis for the discount is “illegal.” The General Property Tax Act of Michigan also states the the basis for the discount is illegal (see THE LAW section further down the page).

THIS BEGS THE QUESTION–HOW MANY OTHER SWEETHEART DEALS HAVE BEEN DOLED OUT TO INSIDERS OR EVEN FRIENDS BY THE BOARD OF REVIEW OVER THE YEARS????

I INTEND TO FIND OUT!!

I have submitted a Freedom of Information request to the City of Grosse Pointe Park for the Board of Review’s Minutes and Revisions for the years 2001 through 2015.

nottingham building original 2009 photo

Above: The building in question–15324 East Jefferson, Grosse Pointe Park, MI 48230 (at the corner of Nottingham & Jefferson next to the gas station on Beaconsfied & Jefferson). The building is 12,020 sq. ft. with four commercial spaces on the first floor (among the tenants-Hungry Howies, Vintage Cleaners, etc.) with 9 office spaces on the second floor. The net income for the building with gross rents exceeding $120,000 per year is $90,000 before interest and taxes. Former Mayor Gregory Theokas & former city council member Andrew Richner received an illegal $16,577 tax break on their property taxes in 2011 and that annual illegal discount continues to increase every year due to inflation. So far the annual illegal discounts total in the $130,000 range for 7 years.

Now are you going to tell me with a straight face that this property’s correct assessed true cash value was $300,000 in 2011 with an SEV of $150,000(SEV equals one half of the true cash value)????? I didn’t think so!!!!!

BELOW: THE SMOKING GUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

prop tax board first halfprop tax board 2nd half

The above image on the left side shows what the ORIGINAL ASSESSOR determined assessed values were before that fateful meeting between three Board of Review members and real estate partners in the property–Grosse Pointe Park Mayor Pro Tem Gregory Theokas & Former Grosse Pointe Park City Council Member Andrew Richner. The image on the right side shows the illegal accommodation made by the Board for Theokas & Richner–saving them $16,577 in property taxes in 2011 and even more than that in subsequent years. You get the picture!!! This untenable and unacceptable corruption is explained in detail below………

Latest news:

The pdf evidence of the fraud has been uploaded to the top of the page – Proof/Documentation . . . Click on this link
and it will be quite obvious by looking at the 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 & 2015 complete tax bills and the Tax Board of Review’s notes what improprieties occurred in the meeting with tax officials.

THE EDITOR OF THE GROSSE POINTE NEWS HAS CHOSEN TO TURN A BLIND EYE TO THIS SCANDAL!!!

SEVERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT ENTITIES HAVE ALSO CHOSEN TO TURN A BLIND EYE TO THIS TRAVESTY:

Grosse Pointe Park Police Chief Steven Poloni, Wayne County District Attorney Kym Worthy,  Michigan State Police and others. It appears that it is up to the resident/taxpayers to demand their community leaders pursue and investigation and prosecution of this malfeasance!

ALSO CHOOSING TO TURN A BLIND EYE – –

Grosse Pointe Park Mayor Robert Denner, Grosse Pointe Park City Council Members -Clark, Grano, Robson, Arora, Detwiler & Chouinard , Grosse Pointe Park City Attorney Dennis Levasseur, Grosse Pointe Park City Manager Dale Krajniak and Grosse Pointe Park City Assessor Eric Dunlap, Grosse Pointe Park Municipal Judge Carl Jarboe…..All have been made amply aware of the facts and circumstances of this malfeasance!!!

RECENT CORRESPONDENCE WITH GROSSE POINTE PARK OFFICIALS:

From City Attorney Dennis Levasseur:

July 13, 2017 email excerpt from City Attorney Dennis Levasseur  to Tom Van Lokeren: “As I understand your emails, you believe that there has been a violation of the law that should be prosecuted. It is not the job of a the City Council to investigate alleged crimes or to begin a prosecution. If you do believe that a crime was committed you should report it to the appropriate law enforcement agency.”

My original complaint in an email to The Court & Judge Jarboe was forwarded to Police Chief Steven Poloni. Chief Poloni forwarded that email to City Attorney Dennis Levasseur and copied me on the forwarding with no response from him to me.

To Grosse Pointe Park Police Chief Steven Poloni:

I followed up with this email and letter to Chief Poloni on July 21, 2017–in part:

“Dear Chief Poloni,

“May I ask if your departments or any other body intend to investigate the public corruption that I have outlined?

Or should I take my concerns somewhere else like the FBI ? They investigate and prosecute public corruption on a frequent basis………..”

I have not heard back from Chief Poloni!

Correspondence with other city officials:

Several emails to the mayor, city council, the city manager and city assesssor have met with deafening silence!!

What is going on here is an extensive cover up by current  Grosse Pointe Park city employees and officials to protect two sacred cows who served in city government–Gregory Theokas (former mayor and city council member) and Andrew Richner (former city council member, former Wayne County Commissioner, former State Representative and currently a Member of the University of Michigan Board of Regents and partner at the pretigious national law firm of Clark Hill). This is nothing short of a conspiracy.

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THE FACTS and CIRCUMSTANCES and EVIDENCE

Theokas & Richner were granted by the Tax Board of Review, in excess of a 64 percent reduction in the SEV of their property from $417,800 (the Assessor’s original  2011 assessment before the meeting)  to $150,000 (the revised 2011 assessment after the meeting)  

The following images and text illustrate in graphic detail what transpired in a March 24, 2011 meeting between taxpayers Theokas & Richner and the members of the Board of Review. The actions taken by both parties are strictly prohibited and illegal and rise to the level of public corruption, a felony, among other felonious offenses committed!

prop tax 2010 small image (2)

Taxes for prior owner in 2010 – – $18,088 based on a taxable assessment of $302,663

Above: you see the prior owner’s 2010  assessment of $443,500 which is equal to 50 percent of the true market value of $887,000 — and the assessed taxable capped at $302,663. Since the property was transferred in an auction sale to Theokas & Richner the Taxable Value gets uncapped and becomes for the following year of the sale, 2011,  the same as the Assessed Value.

When you look at the image below you will see this is what happened (in the left side of the image)–the Grosse Pointe Park Assessor put the Taxable and the Assessed Value at $417,800. In the right side of the image you will see the Board of Reviw applied a 64 percent discount to the Assessor’s  Original Valuations after Theokas & Richner used the influence and the power of their offices (in 2011 Theokas was Mayor Pro Tem of Grosse Pointe Park–in 1991 Andrew Richner was a Grosse Pointe Park City Council Member) to get that reduced to $150,000.

prop tax board first halfprop tax board 2nd half

Above: The March Board of Review Notes & Minutes – from the March 24, 2011 meeting with Mayor Pro Tem Gregory Theokas & Andrew Richner.

Based on the Grosse Pointe Park Assessor’s Original 2011 Assessed and Taxable Valuation of $417,800 the taxes should have been $25,862 — much higher than the former owner’s taxes of $18,088 because a transfer had occurred the year before and the taxable was uncapped to equal the SEV Assessed value. After the members of the Tax Board of Review revised the Assessed Value down from $417,800 to $150,000 the revised tax bill for 2011 was $9,285. A $16,577 loss of tax revenue to the City of Grosse Pointe Park!

prop tax 2011 small image (2)

Above:  the actual revised 2011 property tax bill assessment at $150,000 and taxable assessment at $150,000 which was the result of their 10 minute meeting on March 24, 2011 as evidenced by the the image above this one.

The Grosse Pointe Park Assessor’s Original Assessment for 2011 of $417,800 was revised downward by the Board of Review to $150,000–a 64 percent decrease in assessed SEV value giving the two former Grosse Pointe Park  government officials an illegal $16,577 discount in their 2011 annual property taxes!

 

prop tax 2012 small image (2)

Above: The Grosse Pointe Park Assessor’s 2012 tax bill with assessed and taxable values. The Grosse Pointe Park Assessor for 2012 showed no regard to the Board of Review’s 2011 revised assessed value of $150,000 and put the assessed value at $423,400 but left the taxable assessed value at the revised  2011 amount of $150,000 plus the 2012 inflation adjustment of $4,050. Had the Grosse Pointe Park Assessor’s Taxable Value of $417,800 remained in place for purposes of computing the 2012 taxable value that computation would have been $417,800 increased by an inflation factor of 2.7 percent resulting in a 2012 taxable value of $429,081 and yielding a property tax bill of $26,835. Theokas & Richner’s 2012 tax bill was $9,633. The illegal discount that the two former public officials received for 2012 was $17,202–a loss of that amount of tax revenue to the City of Grosse Pointe Park.

So in just two years the City of Grosse Pointe Park was short changed a cumulative amount of property tax revenue of $33,799 ($16,577 plus $17,202).

The calculation of lost property tax revenue was the following for years subsequent to 2012:

2013: True and proper calculated tax of $28,018 less incorrect illegal tax billed to taxpayers–$10,020 equals lost property tax revenue of $17,999.

2014: True and proper calculated tax of $29,384 less incorrect illegal tax billed to taxpayers–$10,541 equals lost property tax revenue of $18,843.

2015: True and proper calculated tax of $30,100 less incorrect illegal tax billed to taxpayers–$10,831  equals lost property tax revenue of $19,269.

SO IN JUST 5 YEARS–2011 through 2015 the City of Grosse Pointe Park illegally lost a cumulative amount of property tax revenue of $89,890.

Add in the lost revenue for 2016 and 2017 and your into the $130,000 range. Extrapolate that to 20 years and your easily above $400,000.

The actual tax bills for 2010 through 2015 and the Board of Review documents can be found in a pdf file at the top of the Proof/Documentation of the Fraud page.

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MEET THE PERPS IN THIS FRAUD – – THE ONES WE KNOW ABOUT . . .

Gregory Theokas –  former Grosse Pointe Park Mayor/Harvard Law School Graduate. Home address: 824 Bishop, Grosse Pointe Park, MI 48230 Phone – (313) 885-2158. Owner of Mall Tooling & Engineering, Inc., 150 Grand Ave., Mt. Clemens, MI 48043.  Second picture from the left – – taking an oath, third picture from the left with Mayor Palmer Heenan whose office he would later assume.

Andrew Richner – former Grosse Pointe Park City Council member/current law partner at firm of Clark Hill/ former Michigan State Representative/former Chairman of the University of Michigan Board of Regents/ current Member of University of Michigan Board of Regents. University of Michigan Law School Graduate. Pictured in  photo  at top left of page and directly below. Home address: 718 Berkshire, Grosse Pointe Park, MI 48230.

These are our esteemed former public officials and with their impressive pedigrees  used insider information and influence peddling to enrich themselves at the public’s expense.

Gregory Theokas and Andrew Richner have pocketed in the neighborhood of $130,000 over the last 7 years at your expense by not paying their fair share of Grosse Pointe Park and Wayne County property taxes and that number will continue to grow year after year unless you as taxpayers and citizens speak out against this fraud and demand the investigation and prosecution of this fraud.

How does this happen one might ask. It happens when one powerful  Grosse Pointe Park public official, Gregory Theokas, when he was in office as Grosse Pointe Park Mayor Pro Tem (now retired from office) and one former powerful Grosse Pointe Park city council member, Andrew Richner, meet with tax officials privately to ask those officials to give them a $535,600 downward adjustment on the true cash value  (fair market value) of a property they just purchased resulting in an illegal property tax savings  of $16,500 to $23,000 per year. The state equalized value on which property taxes are computed was $417,800 in 2011 before the meeting with tax officials. In that meeting tax officials adjusted the state equalized value of the property to $150,000 – – a $267,800 downward adjustment resulting in the large amount of illegal property tax savings.

One might want to make the point that perhaps that $300,000 was the true cash value but the following year, 2012, the city assessor bumped the true cash value back up to $846,800 – – with an SEV of $423,400, an amount approximating the value before the March 24, 2011 meeting one year before. So it appears that  the meeting was a one time accommodation for Theokas & Richner which saved them approximately $16,577 in 2011 and had the effect of capping their taxable SEV in the $150,000 range thus allowing them to illegally save  $16,577 and more (because of inflation adjustments) every year in perpetuity.

Do the math – – if they hold on to the property for 20 years that’s $400,000 of property taxes the public coffers have been robbed of. The property in question is 15324 East Jefferson, Grosse Pointe Park, MI 48230 – – a 12,000  plus sq. ft. mixed use retail/office building located at Nottingham & Jefferson – – APN – GP37-39 009 01 0013 001.

 

PLEASE GO TO TOP OF PAGE IN THE PROOF/DOCUMENTATION  SECTION – AND CLICK ON THE LINK TO THE PDFs OF THE ACTUAL PROPERTY TAX BILLS WHICH SHOW THE STEEP DECLINE IN THE SEV FROM 2010 TO 2011 AND THEN THE STEEP INCREASE BACK UP TO THE TRUE SEV IN 2012. THIS PDF ALSO SHOWS EVIDENCE OF MARCH 24, 2011 MEETING.

In what they thought was a private conversation there was an individual that overheard the dialogue between the parties. My source is that person (see email in Proof & Documentation Section). This revelation was followed up with research of city & county tax records for the property. Those records confirmed what was reported by  my source – – the illegal favorable treatment granted to Theokas & Richner by tax officials.

One of the laws violated as stated below (See Elements of The Fraud section for the actual full code section)

Section 211.27 (1) of THE GENERAL PROPERTY TAX ACT of Michigan – –

Potential penalties for this public misconduct:

Max. 10 years imprisonment or  max. fine of $5,000. Prohibition of holding any public office, trust or appointment in the future.

This type of cronyism is happening under our very noses in small town America. With the click of a mouse thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars  can be stolen by crooked public officials.

My name is Tom Van Lokeren, a former Grosse Pointe Park resident and Grosse Pointe Park property owner and I ask for your help in getting this illegal and insidious behavior investigated and prosecuted. Every year that goes by without that happening you as taxpayers lose approximately $16,500 to $20,000 from city and county coffers to a couple of white collar crooks!  Please take control of your government in this small but profound way.

I now invite you to read the Elements of The Fraud section of the website and if you don’t have time to read that please go directly to the What You Can Do section.

At a minimum please send an email to:

Police Chief of GP Park – Steven Poloni                                            PoloniS@grossepointedps.org                                  

Judge Carl Jarboe                                                                                     court@grossepointepark.org

Mayor of Grosse Pointe Park, Robert Denner –                              dennerb@grossepointepark.org

Wayne County Prosecutor –                                                                    prosecutor@waynecounty.com

State of Michigan Fraud Investigation Unit –                                   ReportTaxFraud@michigan.gov

Grosse Pointe Park City Attorney Dennis Levasseur –                 DLevasseur@BODMANLAW.COM

Please do not let your current or former public officials rip you off year after year. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Tom Van Lokeren

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