When Algonquin resident Bill Brodrick received his Valley Hi rebate check this week, he was surprised to discover he was not named as the recipient.
Instead, the check was paid to the order of Home State Bank, where Brodrick’s property is held in a trust.
When he went to the bank to resolve the situation Tuesday, Brodrick was told that he could get the check cashed, but he would have to pay a $30 fee, which eventually was reduced to $15.
“I don’t understand why I’m being penalized by a bank to be charged to cash a check made out erroneously,” Brodrick said.
Brodrick was advised that Home State Bank had handled eight similar cases Tuesday.
However, McHenry County Treasurer Glenda Miller said her office has received about 100 checks since Monday from rebate applicants wanting their checks reissued under their name.
Brodrick said if the bank had not assessed a fee to receive the payment, he could’ve lived with it and attributed the situation to government incompetence, but he was angered to see a bank charge him to cash a check that should’ve been made out to him.
“To me, that’s not right,” Brodrick said.
McHenry County received 52,807 applications to claim more than
$9 million of a $15 million rebate of surplus funds approved by the McHenry County Board in April. A little more than 5,000 applications were rejected for not meeting the necessary eligibility requirements. Of the 304 rejection appeals filed during the 30-day appeal period, all but 55 were granted.
Residents who owned and occupied taxable, homestead-exempt residential property at the time the rebate was approved – who also paid their 2017 property taxes in full – were eligible to recoup almost 30% of the county government’s share of last year’s property tax bill.
A full list of rebate applicants shows thousands of properties are held under a trust.
McHenry County Deputy Administrator Scott Hartman said the program was set up so that checks would go out to the property owner on record, which would have been the bank if the property was held in a trust, as a simple way to protect against fraud.
He said that staff knew it was likely that issues would arise cashing checks that were made out to a trust, and it was not the goal to have recipients incur additional costs. During the application period, staff advised applicants with any concerns related to a trust to contact their bank.
Hartman said staff now are advising residents to contact the McHenry County administrative offices or the McHenry County Treasurer’s Office if they need to have their checks reissued. In order for checks made out to a bank to be reissued, the applicant must provide documentation that it is their house in the trust.
Miller said another problem that could occur, depending on the bank, is the cashing of a check where a husband and wife are named as the recipients but one of them is deceased.
Hartman said checks needing to be reissued in an applicant’s name can be sent to the McHenry County Administration Office, 2200 N. Seminary Ave., or the McHenry County Treasurer’s Office, 2100 N. Seminary Ave.
Miller said checks will not be reissued until early November, which is when a second round of application checks will go out from the appeal process.