About Mike Cabonargi

The Cook County Board of Review is a quasi-judicial body that is charged with fairly and impartially reviewing the assessments of all property In Chicago and Cook County, correcting all assessments which should be corrected and lowering property taxes as a result.  The Board consists of three members elected from individual districts.  The Second District includes Chicago’s downtown, north, northwest and southwest communities.  

Commissioner Cabonargi has worked to ensure homeowners and business owners receive a full and fair review of the assessed values of their property and to guarantee schools and local communities receive their needed revenues when they need them.  To accomplish these goals, he has made the Board of Review more transparent, open, efficient and effective.  His office has contacted more than 1.5 million residents and held more than 250 community outreach sessions to educate homeowners and help them file appeals with the Board of Review.  Commissioner Cabonargi further opened the Board to the public by obtaining translations of its appeal forms into Spanish, Polish, Korean, Chinese and other languages spoken by Cook County residents.  In 2015, the Board launched a digital appeals processing system that reengineered and digitized the appeal review process, saves money in employee overtime and document storage and ultimately provides taxpayers a more efficient, complete and reliable review of their appeals.  The National Association of Counties recognized this digital system with a 2017 Achievement Award that honors innovative, effective county government programs that enhance services for residents. 

Commissioner Cabonargi previously served as a senior attorney in the Chicago Regional Office of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission from 2005 to 2011.  Commissioner Cabonargi investigated and litigated a wide variety of cases, including insider trading, offering fraud, pay-to-play, and pyramid/Ponzi schemes.  In 2008, Commissioner Cabonargi received the SEC Director's Award for Excellence for combating financial fraud targeting seniors and in 2007 he received the Chairman's Award for bringing the largest private offering fraud case filed by the Commission in the amount of $2.8 billion. 

Prior to joining the SEC, Commissioner Cabonargi was an attorney in private practice with a concentration in complex commercial and regulatory litigation.  Prior to entering private practice, Commissioner Cabonargi served as a law clerk to U.S. District Court Judge William J. Hibbler in Chicago.  During his clerkship, Commissioner Cabonargi initiated and helped to establish the court's first help desk for pro se litigants, for which he received the Award for Excellence in Public Interest Service from the Federal Bar Association and the U.S. District Court.  

Commissioner Cabonargi served previously as an aide to United States Senator Richard J. Durbin (D-IL) and United States Senator Paul Simon (D-IL).

Commissioner Cabonargi received his J.D. with honors from the University of Illinois College of Law and a B.A. in Political Science and a B.A. in Foreign Affairs from Miami University.  Commissioner Cabonargi was selected in 2012 to participate as a fellow with Leadership Greater Chicago, which brings together leaders from a variety of fields to study some of Chicago’s most urgent challenges in education, race relations, health care, crime and economic development.  

Commissioner Cabonargi serves as a Board Member of the Loyola Academy Bar Association, the District 39 Educational Foundation and the Milan Committee of Chicago’s Sister Cities Program. His previous community service includes serving as a member of the Illinois Comptroller's Ethics Commission, the University of Illinois College of Law Alumni Board, the Local School Council for Brentano Elementary School in Chicago and as a member of the 35th Ward's Zoning Advisory Committee. 

 

Mike’s Record: A More Transparent and Accessible Cook County

 

 

Bringing the Board to the Taxpayers. Since his appointment in February 2011, Mike has hosted more than 120 property tax seminars, helping more than 15,000 homeowners file tax appeal forms. Mike also runs a special program to reach out to firefighters, police officers, ethnic groups and faith-based organizations.

Increasing Access and Communication with the Board. Mike worked with leading community groups and introduced the first translations of the Board’s appeal forms into Spanish, Polish, and Chinese.

Leading the Board of Review into the 21st Century. In the coming months, Mike and his fellow Commissioners will introduce online filing for appeals, streamlining the process and cutting unnecessary fat from the department. It will also cut down on paper use and materials, dramatically reducing the Board’s carbon footprint.

Professionalizing the staff of the Board. Mike has professionalized the office by hiring lawyers as hearing officers and implementing an in-house training program with coursework offered by the Illinois Department of Revenue and other leading organizations.

Helping Small Businesses. Mike is working with small business owners to make filing a property tax appeal easier and less costly, allowing them to reinvest this money back into their business and hopefully create more jobs.

Helping Veterans. Mike is working to ensure every solider returning from overseas will have the opportunity to take advantage of their exemptions. Mike is working with state and local legislators and military officials to extend the window to five years for returning veterans to use their 2-year property tax exemptions.