The owner of a suburban Chicago construction company last week pleaded guilty to conspiring to bribe an employee of the Cook County Assessor’s Office in return for favorable property assessments.
Alex Nitchoff, 56, of Lemont, Illinois, pleaded guilty one count of conspiring to corruptly give something of value to influence and reward a public official, and one count of using an interstate facility to facilitate bribery, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Each count is punishable by up to five years in federal prison.
Nitchoff admitted to participating in a conspiracy to bribe an employee of the Cook County Assessor’s Office in exchange for favorable property assessments. Nitchoff’s sentencing for May 8.
According to court documents, Nitchoff confessed to collaborating with others between 2016 and 2019 to provide complimentary home improvement services and materials to Lavdim Memisovski, an employee of the Cook County Assessor’s Office.
The services, which included various enhancements to Memisovski’s personal residence such as concrete work, decking materials, fencing, and more, were offered with the intention of influencing Memisovski’s professional actions regarding property tax assessments. In exchange for these favors, Memisovski reportedly undertook official actions that reduced property taxes for Nitchoff’s properties by an estimated $550,000.
Nitchoff’s employee, John Bodendorfer, also faced charges related to the bribery scheme but pleaded not guilty and awaits trial. Similarly, Memisovski, who previously admitted to his involvement in the conspiracy, is awaiting sentencing.
This case is part of a broader investigation that has ensnared multiple individuals associated with the Cook County Assessor’s Office. Among them are two other employees, Basilio Clausen and Lumni Likovski, who have pleaded not guilty to bribery charges and are awaiting trial for allegedly accepting bribes in exchange for reducing property assessments.
Additionally, Robert Mitziga, the owner of a fence installation company, faces similar bribery charges and has pleaded not guilty. The seventh defendant, former City of Chicago building inspector Joseph E. Garcia, has already been sentenced to probation for falsely claiming to have inspected home repair projects.
Assistance in this investigation was provided by the IRS Criminal Investigation Division and the City of Chicago Inspector General’s Office, highlighting the collaborative efforts of various law enforcement agencies to uncover and address corruption within the real estate assessment system.