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Cook County Assessor Sued for Assessments 'Perpetuating Institutional Racism'

Joseph Berrios, Cook County assessor, is believed to have defrauded home-owners in majority minority neighborhoods. Now Berrios faces a lawsuit.
December 20, 2017, 11am PST | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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David Wilson

The Cook County Assessor's Office was discovered to have unfairly benefited rich property owners at the expense of the middle class and the poor. Now Joseph Berrios is facing a lawsuit related to these assessments. "The lawsuit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, contends the county's "residential property tax scheme is neither accurate nor uniform" and is 'perpetuating institutional racism' by shifting the tax burden from wealthier, majority-white neighborhoods to poorer, minority neighborhoods," Jason Grotto and Hal Dardick report for the Chicago Tribune.

The lawsuit contends that the department, which Berrios oversaw, violated the civil rights act. "Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that county assessments overvalue low-priced homes while undervaluing high-priced ones," Grotto and Dardick report, a process which disproportionately victimized poor Black and Latino homeowners.

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Published on Thursday, December 14, 2017 in Chicago Tribune
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