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Latino State News

Nepotism is Alive and Well in Cook Co. Assessors Office (VIDEO)

Nepotism is Alive and Well in Cook Co. Assessors Office (VIDEO)

Photo: Joe Berrios

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Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios is very open that he has his sister, son, daughter, as well as his new hire, longtime friend (and possible lover) Vicki LaCalamita in taxpayer-funded county positions. “I still won the election,” Berrios told the Chicago Sun-Times in December when asked about hiring his son and his sister immediately after winning the assessor seat.

Newly elected Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle told Berrios to cut his budget by 16 percent, which led to 53 layoffs in the Assessor’s office. Forty-eight union members and five non-union employees lost their jobs—but Berrios’ family and friends were spared.

“Obviously, he doesn’t give a damn, does he?” Cindy Canary of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform told the Sun-Times in December. “Yes, he won the election, but it’s been abundantly clear that the voters in Cook County are getting wary of this nepotism.”

Berrios has not been charged with any crimes despite years of allegations while he was a member of the Board of Review.