Bankruptcy, foreclosure doesn't stop Knight from seeking Wauconda mayor's post
With fewer than 14,000 residents and more than $88 million in debt, the Village of Wauconda has something of a borrowing and spending problem.
So does Wauconda Village Trustee and mayoral candidate Lincoln Knight, who has filed for bankruptcy, had his home foreclosed upon, and paid his property taxes late in ten of the last eleven years.
Knight, 54, told the Daily Herald in February that he intends to “control the cost of core government services.”
He might. But over the past decade, a review of public records indicates he's had consistent trouble with the concept, personally.
In 2012, Knight listed assets of $133,224 and liabilities of $196,311 in a filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois. He was officially relieved of having to pay his debts on Jan 16, 2013.
Four months later, in May 2013, Beneficial Mortgage Co. of Illinois foreclosed on Knight’s home at 637 Walnut Road in Wauconda’s Larkdale subdivision, according to a filing in Lake County Circuit Court. The case was dismissed that Oct., typical in cases where a defendant has recently filed for bankruptcy.
Knight’s Walnut Road property also went up for tax sale in 2013, as well as on five other occasions-- in 2005, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014-- after he failed to pay his property taxes on time.
All told, since joining the Wauconda Village Board of Trustees in 2005, Knight has paid his property taxes on time just once in eleven tries, paying $2,394 in late fees to Lake County.
Wauconda: drowning in debt
Filings with the Illinois State Comptroller show the Village of Wauconda has amassed a per-capita debt that ranks among the highest in all of Illinois.
The village itself owes $88.2 million, or $17,708 per household.
Most of the debt is owed to public pension funds, including $20.1 million to the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF), $19.5 million to the Wauconda Fire Protection District pension fund and $10.6 million to the village police pension fund.
The village and the fire protection district owe another $38 million in bonded debt.
But for Wauconda property taxpayers, that’s not all.
Wauconda’s Library District owes $1.1 million in bonded debt and another $864,000 to IMRF; its park district owes $197,000 in bonds and $401,000 to IMRF.
This suffocating debt is one reason Wauconda’s effective property tax rate was a whopping 4.06 percent last year, according to a Chicago Tribune report. That’s more than four times the national average.
A recent analysis by Local Government Information Services (LGIS) found inflation-adjusted home prices in Wauconda fell 39 percent from 2007 to 2015, from $288,061 to $176,000 in 2015.
The Wauconda owner of a median-priced home pays $7,146 per year. In Indiana, a home of the same value has a bill of just $1,548.
Knight is challenging Bryan Anderson, an Wauconda realtor supported by current mayor Frank Bart.
Demanding the village spend less and lower property taxes, Bart narrowly won election in 2013 over then-Knight ally and then incumbent Mark Knigge.
Knigge did not endorse Knight for mayor this year, however.
The position of mayor pays $8,000 annually.
Note: This story was edited to reflect the fact that former Wauconda Mayor Mark Knigge did not endorse Lincoln Knight for mayor in 2017.
Organizations in this Story
18 N County St
Waukegan, IL - 60085-4304
101 N Main St
Wauconda, IL - 60084-1823
101 North Main Street
Wauconda, IL - 60084