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Lawsuit filed to force Berrios to pay ethics fine

Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios. |  Sun-Times files

Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios. | Sun-Times files

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The Cook County Board of Ethics filed a lawsuit against Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios Friday demanding that a judge order him to pay a $10,000 fine for hiring his sister and son to work in his office.

Berrios originally had been ordered to pay the fine in 2012 after a Board of Ethics investigation into the hirings, according to the suit filed in Cook County Circuit Court.

Berrios hired his sister and son to work at the assessor’s office just two days after he was sworn in on Dec. 6, 2010, according to the suit. They were paid $108,000 and $68,000, respectively.

The board of ethics conducted an investigation shortly after and found that Berrios violated the anti-nepotism laws by hiring his sister and son, the suit said.

However, Berrios has refused to pay the fine, arguing that any ethics ordinance does not apply to him, nor does the Board of Ethics have any jurisdiction over him, the suit said.

The three-count suit is seeking action to enforce the ethics ordinance against Berrios, have him pay the original $10,000 fine within 30 days of the court’s judgment and comply with the ethics board, the suit said.

Representatives for the assessor’s office could not immediately be reached for comment on the suit Friday night.

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