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posted: 1/16/2014 8:53 PM

Judge: Inspector can investigate elective offices

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Associated Press

A judge has ruled that Cook County's inspector general can investigate fraud, corruption and waste in the county assessor's office and all other independent elected offices.

Inspector General Pat Blanchard's authority to investigate the tax office was challenged by Assessor Joe Berrios.

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The Chicago Sun-Times reported the dispute between Blanchard and Berrios began in 2012, when the inspector requested records related to tax breaks on two properties owned by a Berrios office manager. When the tax office failed to respond, Blanchard issued a subpoena that Berrios challenged.

Blanchard said he was pleased by the judge's opinion on Wednesday, noting several county offices have "stiff-armed" his investigations in the past.

Berrios and Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, whose office represented him, weren't immediately available for comment.

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