Council’s Tax Free Caucus Open Their Wallets…Finally

In the home stretch of the last municipal election news broke that both Councilman White and Councilman Holzhauer had filed paperwork that exempted their homes from real estate taxes. The exemption claimed is allotted to military veterans whose service left them 70% physically disabled or mentally disabled. This appeared quite curious as both councilmen’s social media profiles project them as very healthy, physically active people.

This was eye opening in deed and became widely discussed and covered during the final weeks of the Mayor race. It is hard to think of anything much more politically damaging than to be running for mayor of a city in which real estate taxes are a hot button and have it become known that you’ve exempted your million dollar house from taxes by apparently exploiting a benefit that is clearly intended for seriously wounded combat veterans.

In all likelihood this story cost White the election.

Maybe this is why both councilmen paid the very first tax bill they received post-election and after years of claiming the exemption. It does seem unlikely that both were simultaneously cured of their ailments.

We’ll apparently never know. Both councilmen have never explained these exemptions. Both dismissed this news as Right wing propaganda. Yes the news outlet that published stories on Ian and Benny not paying taxes is clearly to the Right politically … a screenshot of the treasurer’s website is not an editorial. It was factual information for voters to consider….and they did.

The Watchdog is relieved that all of our councilmen now share in paying the tax levies that they assess against our homes. Whether it was shame, political calculus, or simultaneous mutual recovery that drove both to cease claiming these exemptions is unclear and will likely remain a mystery.

The fact that these exemptions were ever claimed in the first place shouldn’t be forgotten. Nor should it be forgotten that neither councilmen ever bothered disclosing these exemptions while passing tax levies on to everyone else. In all likelihood no one in Naperville would have ever known about this issue in the first place without the “Right wing news outlet” doing their homework.

The Watchdog applauds Benny and Ian for joining the tax paying public. The Watchdog also applauds the public for questioning the propriety of tax exempt councilmen voting on our levies. Hopefully residents continue to question why these exemptions were ever claimed, and also never disclosed, in the first place.

Show 20 Comments


  1. John Georgias

    This just proves both of these council members were playing the ‘for thee but not for me’ that many politicians like to play. Yes, we should remember this for the next election especially with virtue signaling Ian!!

  2. Naperville's Northern Liberation Front

    The truest measure of a politician is how quickly they scurry back to integrity and transparency when suspected chicanery is brought to light. Our ‘Dog has accurately noted the very successful media work in bringing this story out.

    We are bumping this thoughtful topic in hopes that exposure of this invaluable benefit for wounded veterans will result in more vets and their families receiving this. Seems like a very positive outcome for this moment.

  3. Joan Murray

    Most citizens don’t care if Ian and Benny qualified for the service-connected disability of at least 70% which allowed them to be exempt from paying property taxes on their primary residence. Good for them and all veterans who qualify for this benefit.

    • Robert Hacker

      Fifty-three percent of the citizens did care.

      • Joan

        Low voter turnout plus no way naperville would let the nepobaby lose. Only those on partisan lines were oppose this tax break for veterans. So much for the right supporting the soldiers.

      • John Georgias

        Apparently Ian and Benny cared too!!

        • Jim Haselhorst

          No they just decided, that since this benefit was not providing them any financial gain (as the right claimed) to prove it by no longer taking this benefit.

          This action not only proved these anti-vet benefits radicals wrong about their claims but shutdown their whole witch hunt. Snd make sure that if they want to restart this witch hunt in the future they will have to first wipe the egg off their faces.

  4. John Georgias

    No one is opposing anything for veterans, many of us are opposing politicians taking advantage of something while hardworking citizens are paying property taxes. We are opposing the usual tired hypocrisy of the left. Apparently Ian and Benny agree as they finally gave in and did the right, just too bad it took so long and was not virtue…but political necessity.

  5. Joan Murray

    If a politician is a veteran(like Ian and Benny) then we have no issue with them using the benefits. If Ian and Benny were republicans then local right wingers would have never put this out there. No way the DuPage policy journal article is done if Benny and Ian were conservatives. You are naive if you don’t think this was about politics.

    • Charles Knutson

      I’m a “right winger” and I have noted before that Barry Greenberg took the same exemption and it ticked me off to no end. Barry was Naperville Township Clerk for at least one term, as I recall. Barry ran as a Republican, so your notion that only Republicans care if it’s Democrat that does it completely false. I can’t stand anyone that takes advantage of that program for personal gain, when they are clearly not disabled. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. No one with integrity would do such a thing and foist the burden on the rest of their fellow citizens, especially if they have the ability to pay.

      • Jim Haselhorst

        First, your post demonstrates what I said. No conservative group ever made this an election issue for Greenberg during his election like they did Holzhauer and White. If this was really about “abuse” of a veterans benefit the right should have been all over this, the same way they did with Ian and Benny. But they didn’t, which tells everyone what this was really about, politics!

        Second, I will ask you the same question I have asked others, how do you know they don’t have a disability? Not all disabilities are “visible” or debilitating.

        Like the Vietnam Vet I work side by side with for 10 years. I would never have guessed he was a disabled vet, he keep up with me every step, could do everything I did, etc. But it turns out he was carrying around a gut full of shrapnel from and WWII pineapple style grenade he had jumped on in combat. He explained how he was luck to have survived, only the age and style of the grenade combined with his flack-jack prevented him from dying that day. His injuries did not prevent him from working but they did impact other aspects of his life profoundly.

        I have also work with other disabled vet with PTSD, that never showed signs of “being disabled” but again their disability did not affect every aspect of their lives, but the areas of their life it did affect, were deeply affected.

        Your post about appearances is a classic example of judging people (prejudice) base on appearance. This type of prejudice is always wrong whether the appearance judged on is skin color, gender, age or yes, apparent disability.

  6. Jim Haselhorst

    Veterans benefits are for all veterans, not just those that someone who has never served thinks some veterans do or don’t deserve.

    Clearly the VA, which administers these programs and qualified both Ian and Benny as disabled vets, did not agree with the assessment by a bunch of non-veterans that these two vets did not met all the requirements for this status. Again if you have a problem with the VA’s determination regarding these two veterans you need to take it up with the VA. Attacking the disable vet for the VA’s decision is morally bankrupt behavior, it just another form of blaming the victim (the vet who’s injuries in the line of duty resulted in a disability).

    As to not explaining the nature of the VA’s determination, that is privileged medical information and requiring a disabled veteran to relieve this kind of information while not requiring all the candidate to do so is prejudicial against veterans. The reason candidates can not be required to release this information in the first place is its a violation of federal privacy laws.

    A community that allows anyone to launching a politically motivated witch hunt to justify trying someone in the kangaroo court of public opinion is creating a community where anyone can do this same thing to anyone else, for any reason. Is that really the type of community you want Naperville to become? A community ruled not by laws but the decisions of kangaroo courts of public opinion?

    The idea that either of these veterans benefited greatly financially from this situation is irrational. As any homeowner can tell you one of the biggest advantages of owning a home is the tax deduction for property taxes. If you pay no property taxes you do not get this very significant (upwards of $10,000) deduction, which mean you pay a great deal more in income tax to both the federal and state governments. So generally speaking this type of benefit is financially a zero sum benefit.

    Finally, resurrecting this dead horse issue only relieves how desperate certain politically motivated people in our community are to find anything they can “hang their hat on”. They have zero accomplishments they can hold before the citizens of Naperville to show how they have made the community better or improved the quality of life in our community so they resort to beating dead horses in hope of distraction Naperville citizens from their failings.

  7. Naperville's Northern Liberation Front

    Well there you go. Even the voices of the left agree that this is a great benefit for veterans who are entitled to it for having served with honor and qualifying because of the cost of that service. Let’s make sure the word gets out to all veterans affected by disability.

    And in fairness to our Councilmen who have changed their application of this benefit- good for them for taking the moral high ground and removing any cause for question. We don’t know how or why they qualified, but to voluntarily not take advantage of a benefit for whatever reason is a responsible gesture of their stewardship of our trust, and a welcome response to this hullabaloo.

    I would suggest that they might improve the optics of the situation if they were to proactively promote the benefit to deserving veterans. Could the Councilpersons involved in this scandal now spearhead the effort to require the Township to actively datamine their extensive records and find other veterans who might find this relief valuable? Imagine the delight on the Community’s collective faces when our elected officials start using their positions of trust to actively do something for the benefit of citizens. Perhaps some direction to city staff to concern themselves with as wide a penetration for this benefit as possible, maybe even some active outreach, instead of worrying about what vendor is providing the best DEI brainwashing course.

    • Jim Haselhorst

      Generally agree with you statement except for two things.

      The first is this was never a scandal, it was always a political witch hunt, nothing more. Two veterans taking advantage of benefits they were entitled to and approved to receive by both the VA and County government is not a scandal. Targeting these two veterans for doing so because they are liberals on city council is the only thing that might possibly be referred to as a scandalous behavior in this situation.

      The second is your gratuitous reference to the divisive right wing political propaganda program against a city program designed to protect the civil rights of all Naperville citizens, the city’s DEI program.

      • Charles Knutson

        If it wasn’t a scandal, as you so claim, then why did they start paying their taxes? Did the heat get a bit too hot? After all, aren’t they “entitled” to the benefit?

        • Jim Haselhorst

          I have had conversation with vets about this kind of benefit. Again generally it is a financial wash, swapping less property taxes for more state and federal income taxes. Most vets choice to take this benefit because they have earned it, so why shouldn’t they?

          Ian and Benny simply decided the easiest way to eliminate Republicans using their getting this benefit, to distract from Republican candidates not having anything to hang their hats on, was to stop taking this benefit. Take the state and federal property tax deduction for their income taxes instead, like all Naperville homeowners do, forcing the Republicans to actually discuss their leadership failures.

          They did not change their minds about taking this benefit because they got caught doing anything wrong (scandal) but because it eliminates the Republicans being able to distract from real city issues by using this benefit to justify a politically motivated witch hunt.

  8. Naperville's Northern Liberation Front

    Could have just left it as generally agreeing, except for the two specifics bit. Anyone familiar with your unique worldview would see the obvious Easter Eggs left just for you. Whatever. Thanks for agreeing, it’s a damn good point.

    The point is this: however we adjectivize the “questionable ethics/possibly redemptive in a non-cynical way/easily hijacked for partisan speechifying” roundabout clust**f**k way in which we got to this moral finish line, really doesn’t matter. The Councilpersons at issue here have re-entered the Community of Goodness and Light by renouncing an unpopular state of affairs. And in so doing, have highlighted a very positive thing for disabled veterans. That’s very positive for all, and a fact.

    Of your second rumination- not a little discomforting to see your prioritize race-baiting class war coaching over the idea of an outreach to disabled veterans who would benefit from a tax-break. Which, at least to this voice, is a whole lot better use of the taxes rendered unto Caesar over an education on something that isn’t real, except to those who profit from it’s promulgation.

    Protecting the civil rights of ALL Naperville’s good citizens should mean a stout vigilance against any and all kinds of race-based selectionism. Specifically focusing our energy on repaying our debt to disabled veterans by taxing them less seems like a positive thing. And true too.

    • Jim Haselhorst

      A “stout vigilance against any and all kinds of race-based selectionism” is exactly what DEI programs are about. They focus on eliminating the systematic prejudices and biases, that currently exist, putting members of some groups at a disadvantage.

      I know it is hard to admit (and see) that for centuries society favor some groups more than others causing generational imbalances in the current society which DEI address.

      In short using the excuse that it was your great grandparent and not you that treated this group unfairly, doesn’t change the fact that this unfair treatment resulting in your family, and thus you, gaining benefits denied this group. The fact that this can not be erased does not change the fact that members of this group should be provide some type or remediation that put them were they would have been if your great grandparent had not mistreated their great grandparents.

    • Jim Haselhorst

      Oh and by the way it was you that brought DEI in to a conversation about veterans benefits not me.

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