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Chicago Mag, BGA Detail Trangressions of Joe Berrios

By Staff in News on Aug 30, 2010 9:30PM

2010_08_berrios.jpg Chicago Magazine and the Better Government Association have teamed up on a thorough investigation into the political career and conflicts of interest of Democratic Cook County Assessor's Office nominee/Cook County Democratic Party chairman Joseph Berrios. Berrios has long been the subject of conflicts of interest: in his 22 years sitting on the Cook County Board of Review, Berrios has long received campaign contributions from tax attorneys who later present property tax appeals before him for review. Berrios's second job is as a property tax lobbyist in Springfield, which is another potential (outright?) conflict of interest.

Using Freedom of Information requests, Chicago and the BGA craft a pattern of questionable judgments that is at once sickening and "business as usual" for Illinois and Cook County politics. They also trace Berrios's early days as a foot soldier in the political organization for Thomas Keane, the late 31st Ward Alderman convicted for mail fraud and conspiracy in secret land deals.

Coming hot on the heels of Fox News Chicago's investigative report on a Berrios charity golf fundraiser in which Berrios's employees took the day off to raise campaign contributions for him in a year where a record 436,000 property tax appeals have been filed, the Chicago mag/BGA report is Berrios's biggest bump in the road yet in his quest to succeed Jim Houlihan as County Assessor. Given Berrios's history of conflicts of interest, no media outlet is endorsing him in the general election so far.

Joseph Berrios, Candidate for Cook County Assessor: Under the Microscope. [Chicago]