Group says major companies involved in tax scheme

CHICAGO — A Chicago area transportation agency is releasing the names of companies it claims are running "sham" offices in the Northern Illinois communities of Channahon and Kankakee to avoid paying millions of dollars in taxes in Chicago and Cook County.

On Wednesday, the Regional Transportation Agency released the names of many of the dozens of companies that have set up shop outside the Chicago area — a list that includes subsidiaries of Verizon and Sears Holdings Corporation. The RTA says it obtained the names after filing Freedom of Information Act requests.

Verizon has declined comment and Sears says it's done nothing wrong. Kankakee and Channahon also have denied any wrongdoing and have said they're following state regulations.

The RTA, which relies on sales taxes for funds, has sued the two communities.