Tax Law

Cross on House Brings $80K Tax Break

  • Print

For George Michael, a cross placed on the side of his $3 million lakefront mansion in suburban Chicago resulted in a tax break of almost $80,000.

But now officials in Lake Bluff, where it is located, say he owes $115,000 in fines for failing to get the village’s permission to run the Armenian Church of Lake Bluff, reports the Chicago Tribune.

And, although the state accepted the home’s new designation as a church without argument, the Lake County Board of Review in February rejected Michael’s claim that his home is now a church. It ruled that his use of the property appeared to be residential.

Mark Belognia, a lawyer for Michael, says he sought to spare his disabled wife by converting their home to a church, the newspaper recounts. “He’s a devoutly religious man, as is his family, and this is the best and only way for them on a weekly basis to practice their faith,” the attorney says.

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.