Just one year after being elected, Cook County Recorder of Deeds Karen Yarbrough is being accused by a federal court monitor of turning her agency into a dumping ground for friends, family and those with political clout.
FOX 32 and the Better Government Association obtained a report that, in scathing terms, accuses Yarbrough of essentially ignoring a court order that aims to restrict political hiring, firing and promotions in the recorder’s office, which is the repository of property records in Cook County.
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Were government jobs that were supposed to be filled objectively with the best candidates improperly going to people with political ties to Yarbrough?
Were Yarbrough aides trying to blunt inquiry into possibly illegal hiring practices?
Those are among the questions raised in the new report by court monitor Cardelle Spangler, who wrote that she maintains “grave concerns as to whether the Recorder is truly committed to eradicating unlawful political considerations from Employment Actions within her office.”
The agency is one of county government’s bureaucracies overseen by an elected official – Yarbrough. It is the repository of property records in Cook County.
Below are related stories relating to Yarbrough and other recent patronage problems in her agency.
- The Friends And Family Plan: Cook County Recorder of Deeds Karen Yarbrough taps niece for six-figure job, amid other questionable hires.
- Better Government Association Sues County Agency Over FOIA Roadblock: Cook County Recorder of Deeds makes it as difficult as possible to obtain public records under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act; the BGA says “enough is enough.”
- A Pol’s Ethical Lapses Inspire Us: In wake of Recorder’s transgressions, BGA resurrects call for agency consolidations.
- Misdeeds Don’t Stop Hire: Cook County Recorder of Deeds taps family friend for well-paid government job — despite conviction for heist.
- Why Waste Time When Clout’s On The Line? Before she was even elected, incoming Cook County Recorder of Deeds Karen Yarbrough insinuated herself into the agency’s hiring process — a brazen move that may have violated an anti-patronage court order.
This story was written and reported by the Better Government Association’s Robert Herguth and FOX 32’s Dane Placko. They can be reached at (312) 821-9030 or email@example.com.