Testimony elicited during hearing alleges that County was deprived of over $100,000.00 in property taxes by the scheme . . .and there may be much more.
September 1, 2019-Trial testimony obtained by the Gazette details a commissioner’s certificate sale scheme designed to defraud the taxpayers of Lake County of approximately $100,000.00.
According to the testimony, when faced with losing his property for not paying taxes, Gary property owner Sergio Gutierrez instructed his son to purchase the properties. Because the properties were being offered at a Commissioner Certificate Sale, the properties could be purchased for just $500 and back taxes would no longer be a lien on the property.
Gutierrez’ son, Corey Gutierrez, obtained title to the properties and failed to pay the taxes just as his father had done. When the properties were again offered at a commissioner certificate sale they were purchased by Alexander Petrovski-a seemingly unrelated party. According to the transcript, however, Gutierrez continued to treat the properties as his own while Petrovski owned them. Gutierrez took out a $500,000 mortgage on the properties, obtained a survey, and entered into a contract for sale of the properties for $900,000.00. Despite the fact that the the properties were under contract for sale for $900,000.00, Gutierrez testified that he was approached by Alexander Petrovski’s father, Nick Petrovski, who offered to deed the properties to Gutierrez for “a sign and some work.” Nick Petrovski has announced his candidacy for Lake County Recorder in 2020 via social media.