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State fines assessor’s adviser $30K

Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios  |  Sun-Times files

Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios | Sun-Times files

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Updated: October 11, 2012 6:11AM

A longtime top political consultant to Cook County Democratic Chairman and Assessor Joseph Berrios faces $30,400 in fines after state election authorities found he failed to file campaign-finance disclosure reports until long after they were due.

Jesse Ruben Juarez didn’t turn in seven reports that were due as long ago as June 2010 and as recently as March for his 1st Ward Democratic Committeeman Fund, according to Andy Nauman, deputy director for the Illinois Board of Elections’ campaign disclosure division. The political committee didn’t appeal and is on the hook for the penalties, Nauman says.

Juarez says he thought the matter had been dropped.

State records show his committee filed all of the overdue reports at one time, on April 18.

That was more than a month after Ald. Proco Joe Moreno (1st) filed a complaint March 9 that prompted the election board’s action.

Moreno and Juarez were once allies — before the alderman unseated Juarez as the First Ward’s Democratic committeeman in the March 20 primary.

Moreno says he blew the whistle on the late campaign reports because strict reporting of campaign fund-raising and spending are important.

“Everybody makes a mistake here or there,” says Moreno. “But three years or so of not filing — that’s disgusting.”

Juarez has been a top campaign adviser to Illinois politicians for over a decade. In all, various political committees registered with the state have paid him and his JRJ Consulting firm nearly $764,000, according to election board records.

About $325,000 of that has come from committees controlled by Berrios, the Cook County Democratic Party and state Rep. Maria Antonia “Toni” Berrios (D-Chicago), the party boss’ daughter.

Juarez also was a key adviser to former First Ward Ald. Manny Flores, whose campaign committees paid Juarez and JRJ more than $154,000.

Dan Mihalopoulos

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