Berrios concedes to Kaegi in contentious Cook County assessor's race

  • Fritz Kaegi toppled incumbent Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios in Tuesday's Democratic primary

    Fritz Kaegi toppled incumbent Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios in Tuesday's Democratic primary

 
 
Updated 3/20/2018 11:54 PM

Hounded by accusations his office unfairly shifted the tax burden from wealthier property owners to the poor and middle class, embattled Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios on Tuesday lost his bid for a third term, placing second in a three-way Democratic primary.

With 97 percent of precincts counted, unofficial results showed Oak Park asset manager Fritz Kaegi with 306,886 votes, followed by Berrios at 229,431. Andrea Raila had 139,144 tallies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Kaegi said Berrios and Raila each conceded to him in "gracious" telephone calls.

"What we showed is we can beat Machine politics and that the voters want ethical leadership," Kaegi said.

Leading up to Tuesday's primary, Kaegi criticized Berrios for accepting campaign contributions from attorneys who handle property assessment challenges. He's also said it's "grotesque" that about 25 percent of the assessments under Berrios' administration have drawn appeals.

Berrios, a Chicago resident elected to the post in 2010, contends he turned around the office after decades of mismanagement by previous administrations. He said he saved taxpayers millions of dollars by getting assessments out on time. Appeals are a reflection of property owners exercising their legal rights, and his office often helps residents contest valuations, he said.

Berrios spokeswoman Monica Trevino said he was unavailable for comment late Tuesday.

Raila, a property tax analyst from Chicago, was ruled off the ballot then reinstated last week by an Illinois appeals court. Cook County clerk spokesman James Scalzitti said no irregularities were found in the suburbs regarding voters being told at the polls their votes for Raila wouldn't count, unlike what occurred in Chicago.

No Republicans were in the primary, but the GOP still can put up a candidate for the November general election.

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