DeKalb County Treasurer talks status of vacant Chestnut Grove parcels in Cortland

January 28, 2019

SYCAMORE – Want to buy the property taxes for a whole undeveloped subdivision in Cortland? The DeKalb County Treasurer’s office said the chance to do so may come after June 25.

Property taxes that are still for sale for more than 90 land parcels in Cortland were listed in Daily Chronicle’s legal section last week. Those properties once belonged to former home developer Anthony Montalbano – who filed for personal bankruptcy protection in 2009, according to Crain’s Chicago Business – and the company Montalbano Builders, Inc., which went out of business in August 2017, according to Bloomberg.

DeKalb County Treasurer Christine Johnson said the properties’ 2015 taxes were auctioned off by the county as the land’s trustee in 2016 to try to get a third party to pay the property’s taxes, interest and fees after the owner failed to do so. She said the goal of the county’s tax auction program is to get those orphan parcels, as she called them, back on the tax rolls.

“Because that’s good for everybody if somebody cares for them and is going to start paying taxes to them again,” Johnson said.

In this case, Johnson said, no one bought the taxes for the Cortland properties when the county tried to bring them to auction. If the owner doesn’t buy the taxes back by June 25, the county will petition to the court to get the land deeds so they can sell the land and split the sales to the taxing bodies, she said.

Johnson said that’s at least something the county and other taxing bodies can do to hopefully recoup a little of what the taxing districts lost as a result of those property taxes not getting paid.

“Because otherwise they’re just sitting there,” Johnson said.

According to the DeKalb County Community Online Map Property and Search Site, the vacant lot properties in question have “Chestnut Grove” in the brief property description. Several of the properties include land that is near Cortland Elementary School, the school that was built after the same developer Montalbano Homes donated 13 acres of land to DeKalb School District 428 district to construct the school in the Chestnut Grove subdivision.