By Ray Hanania
March 25, 2021
Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas on Tuesday saluted two leaders of the Arab American community in conjunction with the celebration this April of Arab American Heritage Month.
Pappas presented Certificates of Excellence to Samir Khalil, a businessman and founder of the Arab American Democratic Club, and Hassan Nijem, a businessman and President of the Arab American Chamber of Commerce.
Khalil and Nijem attended a ceremony hosted by Pappas at the Cook County Building on Tuesday, March 23, 2021, where they received the certificates.
“I am so proud to be involved with so many ethnic American communities in Cook County and especially with the Arab American community which has given so much to help contribute positively to our society,” Pappas said.
“Samir Khalil and Hassan Nijem both have worked hard to lead the Arab American community, getting them involved in every aspect of community life. As you know I love to help all of the ethnic and religious groups in our society and Arab American Heritage Month in April reflects not only the pride that Arab Americans have in their culture and their contributions to this country, but also being a part of the great diversity that we share and enjoy.”
Khalil credited Pappas with being a consistent supporter of diversity in Cook County and always being inclusive.
“I know the Arab American community is so honored that an official like Maria Pappas is always inclusive and reaches out to our community to ensure that we are informed of all the services that her important office provides to not only our community but to everyone,” Khalil said.
“Maria Pappas is one of the most responsive government officials in Cook County and she always goes the extra mile to ensure that everyone is included regardless of race, religion or ethnic heritage. She is a very responsible government official.”
Nijem said that the business community is critical to the success of any community and applauded Pappas for always being responsive to community needs and concerns.
“No official is more responsive to the ethnic and religious community in Cook County than Maria Pappas,” Nijem said after the ceremony.
“She always includes everyone and that is important to our community. We are proud Americans who pay our taxes, abide by all of the laws, and contribute to making this country great. Her recognition of our efforts reinforces the good that our community strives to achieve.
Pappas has made her website one of the most important resources for individuals to check on their property taxes and to pay their property taxes.
Recently she sponsored a phone bank with WLS TV to help property owners recover more than $12.5 million in property tax overpayments. Pappas has launched “Black and Latino Houses Matter” to address the disproportionate impact tax sales have had on certain areas of Cook County.
All property owners in Cook County can visit the Treasurer’s office online at www.CookCountyTreasurer.com to get up-to-date information on taxes and benefits. They can search through $76 million in available property tax refunds, check on up to $46 million in missing tax exemptions and verify if their properties are on the county’s tax sales list of delinquent taxes.