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Board of Review Commissioner Michael Cabonargi

cabonargiThis month, we introduce you to Michael M. Cabonargi, a bright, articulate first-generation Italian American from our community who is at the beginning of what appears to be a brilliant political career. His family immigrated to this country from the Emilia Romana region of Italy and have provided Michael, as our parents and grandparents did, with the opportunity to fulfill the American dream.

Michael Cabonargi was sworn in on Feb. 10 as the appointed commissioner of the Second District on the Cook County Board of Review by Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans.

Prior to his swearing-in, Commissioner Cabonargi served as a senior attorney and prosecutor in the Chicago Regional Office of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission from 2005 to 2011. IN that capacity, he investigated and litigated cases involving insider trading, offering fraud, pay-to-play and pyramid/Ponzi schemes. In 2008, he received the SEC Director’s Award for Excellence for combating financial fraud targeting seniors, and in 2007 he received the Chairman’s Award for bringing the largest private offering fraud case filed by the Commission in the amount of $2.8 billion.

Prior to joining the SEC, Commissioner Cabonargi was an attorney with the prestigious law firm of Bell, Boyd and Lloyd from 2004 to 2005 and with Gardner Carton and Douglas, another major firm, from 2002 to 2004, with a concentration in complex commercial and regulatory litigation. Among other matters, Commissioner Cabonargi represented the City of Chicago in the federal and state litigation arising out of the closing of Meigs Field.

From 2000 to 2002, Commissioner Cabonargi served as law clerk to United States District Court Judge William J. Hibbler in Chicago. During his clerkship, he initiated and helped to establish the court’s first help desk for pro se (self-represented) litigants, for which he received the Award for Excellence in Public Interest Service from the Federal Bar Association and the U.S. District Court in 2005.

Commissioner Cabonargi served as an aide to United States Senator Richard J. Durbin in 1997, and to United States Senator Paul Simon from 1993 to 1997.

Commissioner Cabonargi received his J.D. in 2000 from the University of Illinois College of Law in Champaign and a B.A. in Political Science and a B.A. in Foreign Affairs from Miami University in 1993. He is a previous recipient of a law student scholarship from our Justinian Society of (Italian) Lawyers.

Michael has demonstrated through his brief political career that, in no small part, a significant item on his political agenda is to improve the condition of Italian Americans in the Chicago area. He has already become a member of the Justinian Society, and has and will continue to attend our community functions. Of this outstanding young professional, past Justinian and Italian American Political Coalition President Tom Battista says: “Mike embraces his ethnicity, wears it on his shoulder, and has demonstrated in his brief political career that he vouchsafes all of the values of the Italian American community: integrity, diligence, family and patriotism. We will be hearing a lot about Mike, politically, in the years to come.”

Commissioner Cabonargi lives with his wife Erin Lavin Cabonargi, Executive Director of the Public Building Commission of Chicago, and their sons, William and Jack, in Chicago’s Logan Square community. Commissioner Cabonargi served as a member of the Local School Council for Brentano Elementary School in Chicago from 2006 to 2008 and as a member of the 35th Ward’s Zoning Advisory Committee from 2007 to 2009. He also served on the Illinois Comptroller’s Ethics Commission from 2003 to 2005.

The Cook County Board of Review, formerly the Board of Appeals, consists of three members elected from individual districts. The Board is a quasi-judicial body that is charged with fairly and impartially reviewing the assessments of all property to the extent authorized by the Property Tax Code, and correcting all assessments that should be corrected. It is empowered to raise or lower, and or direct the Cook County Assessor to change, correct, alter or modify assessments as justice may require, and to do all acts necessary within the authority provided by the Code to procure a full, fair and impartial assessment of all property. The Second District includes Chicago’s downtown, north, northwest and southwest communities.

About Leonard F. Amari

Leonard F. Amari is a founding, co-managing partner of Amari & Locallo, a law firm that focuses exclusively on real estate tax assessment issues. He is a J.D. recipient from The John Marshall Law School, with honors. Amari has been a John Marshall trustee since 2000 and was elected president of the board in 2007. He is past president of the Illinois State Bar Association, a member of the Chicago Bar Association’s State and Local Taxation Committee, and a member and past president of the Justinian Society of Lawyers. He has received numerous honors from many organizations recognizing his service.