A number of years ago Watchdog posted an article critical of Naperville Police Chief Robert Marshall double-dipping pension funds by receiving two pensions at the same time. One police pension, and one from the City of Naperville. Afterwards I began thinking, would I do that if it was offered to me, and my answer was ‘of course I would’. That being the case, how could I be critical of Marshall for doing the same thing. It wasn’t illegal. it wasn’t even unethical. He earned every dollar. He paid his dues climbing the ladder of responsibility from being a patrol officer, pulling vehicles over at 2:00 in the morning (with each and every encounter possibly going terribly bad), to leading a police department facing more-than-difficult decisions every day.
I felt terrible about publishing that posting, embarrassed to say the least. It was the low point in Watchdog’s 11 years of posting. Shortly after, my wife and I were accepted to participate in Naperville’s 2018 Police Academy. It was at that time I was able to apologize in person to Chief Marshall. He couldn’t have been more gracious in accepting my apology.
Fast-forward five years, and now it’s Mayoral candidate Benny White taking incoming heat for not paying property taxes as a result of a state exemption granted to military veterans because of a medical disability. Veteran’s are granted a $2500 annual property tax exemption if they have a service-related disability of at least 30%, and $5000 for disabilities of more than 50%. White who has a disability of more than 70%, though he would not disclose his disability, is exempted from all property tax payments.
White retired from the Army in 2008 after serving for 21 years and has not paid property taxes for at least five years. For tax year 2021, White would have paid almost $18,000 without the exemption. It’s not illegal, nor is it unethical. Is he gaming the system? It’s definitely not a good look, especially for someone aspiring to become the mayor of Illinois’ fourth largest city. That’s for the voters to determine next Tuesday April 4th.
What is not a good look is questioning veteran benefits earned by 22 years of service to our country, and compounding this by telling only partial truths and innuendo. You fail to mention that Councilman White no longer qualifies this benefit, or Scott Wherli received over two million dollars in PPC loan that were forgiven and did not have to be paid back. Was this gaming the system or simply taking advantage of available benefits.
Benny White’s lifetime of public service in the Army, the school board, police and fore board and city council makes him the clear choice for mayor.
All information in this article is sourced
Thank you for helping me to decide to vote for them. I love their stance on this. I wasn’t aware of it previously.
Again this a fraction of the millions Scott Wehrli’s business got in PPP loans that he then had forgiven.
So if you standard for immorality and questionable ethics is taking advantage of the same government funds and benefits all other qualifying taxpayer do then Wehrli has spent more time gobbling up funds at the taxpayer trough then the Whites.
Not surprising that this article misrepresent the situation, since this media outlet was started a few election cycles ago by far right leaning Republicans to push their far right conservative political agenda. This publication frequently misrepresent information and “facts” in its articles presenting information out of contexts, in a misleading manner, incorrectly, etc. Its the classic ethically bankrupt philosophy that the ends justify the means.
First, specifically with regard to section 8 housing in Naperville, there is plenty of land were this type of housing could be built in Naperville beside this article’s claim the only land available is in the downtown area (specifically 5th Avenue). Further its estimate of the size of the buildings is based on the false assumption that under developed or under used land, that exist in some parts of Naperville, which has housing currently on it, will not be redeveloped. Redevelopment of existing housing would lower the number of units needed to meet the State’s minimum level of affordable housing in Naperville.
Second, meeting the State’s requirement for affordable housing does not mean adding section 8 housing to Naperville (affordable housing does not have to be section 8 housing). This objective can be met with the new ordinance past by the City Council which provides some very good incentives, to developer, to develop (or redevelop) property as affordable.
Third, the state’s requirement is not for low income or section 8 housing it is for affordable housing which is way different. Affordable housing is based on the average monthly household income of a community. Affordable housing Naperville is any home, town-home, condominium or apartment that does not cost more then 1/3 of this monthly income. Because household incomes in Naperville are so much greater then the national average the monthly cost for affordable housing in Naperville is far greater then that of low income housing.
Finally, it is important to remember that the affordable housing issue in Naperville did not happen over night so the city does not have to fix it over night (in a year or even a single term to elected office). Simply showing the state that Naperville has a viable plan to address this issue is enough to keep the state at bay. And the city council already did this with its new affordable housing ordinance.
Ian Holzhauer took a bunch of PPP Loan money too and it was forgiven.
As progressive women of Naperville we urge all Naperville residents to vote for Benny White and his endorsed slate of council persons for city hall. As Benny and his wife have pointed out many times, Naperville is a racist town and by electing Benny we can right the wrongs of the past. Hopefully Naperville will even consider paying reparations to our oppressed black residents!
The Watchdog’s comment about White not being willing to disclose the nature of his disability is inappropriate. How would you feel if someone questioned your medical history and implied the only way to prove an Officially Certified health condition is legitimate is if you will discuss the details in public answering any and all questions from everyone (even people who’s intent is clearly hostile and political with no interest finding the truth).
White has a VA certified disability end of story!!! If you have any concerns about the legitimacy of this certification you need to be discussing it with the VA, not Benny White. White only provided the VA with the information they requested, the VA is the organization that took this information, analyzed it and determined he had a disability and the amount of that disability. Any questions or concerns about this process can only be answered by the VA!!!
As to the property tax exemption. There are many, including one for senior citizens, but all of these have a cap (max limit) on how much is exempt including people with a VA certified disability of greater then 70%. The only properties in Naperville not being taxed are non-profit organizations like churches. If the amount of property taxes not paid by White is a problem for you, you don’t want to know how much churches are not paying, it will give you a coronary.
Finally millions in PPP loans not paid back (by gaming the system, taking advantage of a benefit, exploiting a loophole, etc ) makes the WatchDog’s estimate of $18,000 in property taxes not paid by White look insignificant. Time to stop trying to turn a VA certified disability into a divisive political issues, with the sole objective being to pushing a self serving political agenda. Want what Benny White has? Join the military and service your country for 20+ years; live away from your family for months/years in parts of the world hostile to you, your family and your country.
Benny White’s last real estate tax bill paid in 2022 was $0 due to the veteran exemptions. (this years tax bills are not out) I do not fault him for this, but it is hard for me to vote for anyone that is charged with the responsibility for our city’s finances that impact our property taxes when he does not have a personal vested interest. He does not pay property taxes. He is spending others people’s money.
We need to get rid of DEI in the City of Naperville
Not everyone can be adopted into a wealthy family like Scott Wehrli has. If anyone should understand equity, it would be Scott.
Only a very small part of a Naperville resident’s property tax bill goes to the city. Almost all of it goes to the School District, the Park District and DuPage county.
Any resident pays far more then this with their monthly utilities bill (the majority of the city’s budget goes to the water and electrical utilities that are funded by user fee, not property taxes). The lions share of the general fund, which funds the rest of city government comes from sales, real estate transfer, cannibus, liquor, tobacco, and other taxes.
Finally, during every year White has been on city council he has pushed for reduce dependence of city government funding by property taxes.
Jim, the voters spoke, and didn’t buy your arguments.
The voters spoke and not one POC was elected, but hey let’s get rid of the city’s diversity programs while we are at it.
Benny White was crushed in his own precinct. Sorry Kim, you can whine all you want on your Facebook page, but no one was buying what Benny was selling. Tell little Tommy Higgins I said hello.
Funny how the manufactured outrage is gone now that the election is over. Not a peep. All of the sudden Naperville republicans support veterans again.