About Mike Cabonargi

A former federal prosecutor for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Michael Cabonargi was sworn in as Commissioner of the 2nd District of the Board of Review on February 10, 2011. Mike brings a unique combination of experience as a lawyer, prosecutor and a citizen advocate to the Board.

As an SEC prosecutor, Mike led the fight against investor fraud, pay-to-play fraud, and Ponzi and Pyramid schemes. He received the SEC Director’s Award for Excellence for combating financial fraud against senior citizens and the Chairman’s Award for bringing the largest private offering fraud case filed by the Commission. Prior to working for the SEC, Mike was a lawyer in private practice and an aide to United States Senators Paul Simon and Dick Durbin.

As Commissioner, Mike is committed to advocating for Cook County taxpayers, providing a full and fair property tax assessment and creating an open and transparent process for appeals. During Mike’s tenure as Commissioner, the Board introduced the first online appeal filing system, translated its forms into Spanish, Polish and other languages and helped thousands of taxpayers through an extensive outreach program. Mike is a first generation Italian-American and was raised in the Chicago area. He received his law degree from the University of Illinois in Champaign and his undergraduate degree from Miami (Ohio) University.



Mike’s Record: A More Transparent and Accessible Cook County



Bringing the Board to the Taxpayers. Since his appointment in February 2011, Mike has hosted more than 120 property tax seminars, helping more than 15,000 homeowners file tax appeal forms. Mike also runs a special program to reach out to firefighters, police officers, ethnic groups and faith-based organizations.

Increasing Access and Communication with the Board. Mike worked with leading community groups and introduced the first translations of the Board’s appeal forms into Spanish, Polish, and Chinese.

Leading the Board of Review into the 21st Century. In the coming months, Mike and his fellow Commissioners will introduce online filing for appeals, streamlining the process and cutting unnecessary fat from the department. It will also cut down on paper use and materials, dramatically reducing the Board’s carbon footprint.

Professionalizing the staff of the Board. Mike has professionalized the office by hiring lawyers as hearing officers and implementing an in-house training program with coursework offered by the Illinois Department of Revenue and other leading organizations.

Helping Small Businesses. Mike is working with small business owners to make filing a property tax appeal easier and less costly, allowing them to reinvest this money back into their business and hopefully create more jobs.

Helping Veterans. Mike is working to ensure every solider returning from overseas will have the opportunity to take advantage of their exemptions. Mike is working with state and local legislators and military officials to extend the window to five years for returning veterans to use their 2-year property tax exemptions.