URBANA – President of the Urbana Park District Board of Commissioners, Michael W. Walker and his wife, University of Illinois Ethics Professor, C.K (Tina) Gunsalus are suing their neighbor for a strip of land that they have not been paying property tax on. Tina Gunsalus is also the Director of the National Center for Professional and Research Ethics (NCPRE), a licensed attorney, former President of the Urbana School District Board of Education, and a developer with the Urbana Development Group, a real estate development group that receives financial backing from the City of Urbana.
Gunsalus and Walker are seeking compensatory and punitive damages for “deliberate and malicious trespass” on a strip of land between their neighbor, Christopher Hansen’s house and property that they own (article here).
There is an ongoing dispute of who owns the strip of land which Hansen has been using and maintaining for the past sixteen years. The same strip of land was used and maintained by his predecessors since the 1970s. The land is immediately adjacent to the foundation of Hansen’s home. Half of Hansen’s brick patio, half of his parking space, and most of his yard is situated on this six-foot strip of land.
Champaign County Geographic Information System (GIS) data shows the taxable square footage of the lot which Walker and Gunsalus own as 2466.01 sq feet. Their lot is 62 ft deep, which means that it is only 40 ft wide. However, they are suing for trespass on land beyond the 40 ft mark.
Property tax records show that Walker and Gunsalus, as well as their predecessors, have been paying property taxes for a lot size that is only 40 ft wide, meaning that they have not been paying property taxes on the strip of land on which they are accusing Hansen of trespass. Walker and Gunsalus twice argued with the Champaign County Assessment Office to have their property taxes reduced.
Since filing their lawsuit against Hansen, Gunsalus and Walker have started excavating the land that they have not paid taxes on.