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Preckwinkle Steps Up Hiring Ethics Fight Against Assessor, Joe Berrios

Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios. (Credit: Cook County Assessor’s Office)

Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios. (Credit: Cook County Assessor’s Office)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is taking aim at the hiring practices of Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios.

Berrios has three relatives working for him and has repeatedly claimed that county ethics rules prohibiting family hiring don’t apply to him.

Now, Preckwinkle supports proposed legal action to try to force Berrios to pay $10,000 in fines assessed against him for violating the ban and refusing to fire the relatives.

The county ethics board has asked the states attorney’s office to either represent it in the case against Berrios or appoint an outside counsel to handle the matter.

“The Board of Ethics has decided to seek the appointment of a special state’s attorney to recover the fines imposed upon the assessor and we back them,” Preckwinkle said in a statement.

“I support the provisions of the ordinance, and we’re going to seek representation to enforce it. I’ve talked to Joe and he’s said he’s going to pursue his own interest.”

A lawyer representing Berrios told the Chicago Sun-Times the entire issue is waste of taxpayer money and predicted Berrios would win in court.