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December 3, 2023

Coles County – Federal Lawsuit seeks injuction pertaining to property tax assessments

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On August 7, 2017

Coles Co. (ECWd) –

The taxpayers suing Coles County in Federal Court have filed an amended complaint that further details the alleged Fourteenth Amendment violations of the US Consitution to include seeking an injunction.

“Under these circumstances, to mitigate the harm to Plaintiffs, Plaintiffs seek an injunction which requires Coles County to immediately do all the assessments county-wide including re-doing the assessments of Mattoon Township used for tax year 2016.”

The County passed a resolution in March of 2015 splitting the county into 4 assessment districts as permitted by law. Mattoon Township was named as the the first district to be assessed and interestingly has the largest number of parcels of the 4 Districts.  With Mattoon Township having the most parcels and a school district having financial problems, it was a prime starting point for increasing the Assessed Values (AV).  It is believed selecting Mattoon Township as the starting point for the assessments was part of the orchestrated scheme to generate more tax dollars for the financially strapped Mattoon School District.

The injunction points out that their resolution would allow the alleged Fourteenth Amendment violation to continue until 2018, which is when Lafayette Township is scheduled to be assessed on the new schedule adopted.

“The Equal Protection Clause is part of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The clause, which took effect in 1868, provides that no state shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction “the equal protection of the laws”. A primary motivation for this clause was to validate the equality provisions contained in the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which guaranteed that all people would have rights equal to those of all citizens.”

Keeping it simple, Mattoon and Lafayette Township share the same school district, which means the taxpayers receiving those services are to be treated equally. Mattoon Township taxpayers are impacted for two years before any other township is assessed, yet they share the same taxing service known as the Mattoon School District.

You can download the amended complaint at this link or view below.

Amended complaint



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1 Comment
  • James J Pancrazio
    Posted at 09:13h, 08 August

    Interesting approach to the assessment. Curious to see how this will go.