Tag: Karen Yarbrough

Yarbrough Likely To Run Unopposed For Clerk After Attorney Tossed Off Ballot

Tuesday, February 20, 2018 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

Featured image: Yarbrough, left, with former Illinois governor Pat Quinn. | Cook County Recorder of Deeds 

Karen Yarbrough — the current Cook County Recorder of Deeds and Maywood resident who is also the Proviso Township Democratic committeewoman — will likely run unopposed in the March 20 Democratic Primary to replace the retiring David Orr as Cook County Clerk.

Continue reading “Yarbrough Likely To Run Unopposed For Clerk After Attorney Tossed Off Ballot”

Challenger For Cook County Clerk’s Seat Knocked Off The Ballot

Tuesday, February 6, 2018 || Nona Tepper/Wednesday Journal|| @maywoodnews  || Updated: 9 p.m. 

A River Forest woman has been knocked off the ballot for Cook County Clerk, after a Maywood man successfully challenged the validity of her nomination signatures.

Continue reading “Challenger For Cook County Clerk’s Seat Knocked Off The Ballot”

Pritzker Opens Campaign Office in Maywood

Sunday, November 19, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

Featured image: Illinois Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker inside of his Maywood campaign offices on Nov. 17. | Facebook/Sara Lira 

Illinois Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker was in Maywood on Nov. 17 to open a campaign office at 901B S. 5th Ave. Pritzker was welcomed by Cook County Recorder of Deeds and Proviso Township Democratic Party Chairperson Karen Yarbrough, who is also running for Cook County Clerk.

Continue reading “Pritzker Opens Campaign Office in Maywood”

Recorder of Deeds Yarbrough to Challenge Cook County Clerk David Orr

Yarbrough, KarenFriday, June 16, 2017 || By Local News Curator || @maywoodnews

The Chicago Tribune has reported today that Cook County Recorder of Deeds Karen Yarbrough will challenge incumbent Cook County Clerk David Orr in the Democratic primary next year.

Yarbrough, who lives in Maywood and is committeeman of the Proviso Township Democratic Party that’s headquartered in the village, announced her plans to run today, the Tribune reports.

“I plan to submit my credentials to the Cook County Democrats and hope to win the support to get the endorsement,” Yarbrough 66, told the Tribune. “I will be running.”

Orr, 72, has been in office since 1990 and will be seeking his eight term.

Yarbrough’s recorder’s office was folded into the clerk’s office after voters approved a referendum last year to consolidate the two bureaucratic bodies.

The Cook County Recorder of Deeds position, which has been held by a Maywood resident since 1999 — when the late Eugene “Gene” Moore was appointed to succeed Jesse White — will be eliminated in December 2018, the Tribune reports.

Some elected officials, including Orr, argued that the consolidation would save the county money, in part by eliminating the duplication of duties. Both offices are responsible for maintaining records.

The clerk’s office keeps birth and death certificates and government documents. It also facilitates elections in the suburbs. The recorder’s office keeps property-related information, such as liens and real estate transfer taxes.

Yarbrough argued that the consolidation would not be as cost-effective as some of its proponents claimed and she often touts “the industry-leading reforms we are pushing, like stronger property fraud laws, better data portals, and blockchain technology for land records,” according to a statement on the recorder’s website.

But Yarbrough hasn’t been able to shake allegations of wrongdoing within her office. Last month, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Yarbrough’s office “spent two nights at the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa for an ‘Executive Staff Leadership Retreat’ that cost the county $12,303.09, records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times show.”

Yarbrough told the Sun-Times that the getaway was a “small, strategic investment” that was made to improve the morale in her office in the wake of the consolidation. The recorder is responsible for a budget of around $12 million and employs roughly 134 people, the Sun-Times reported.

“I wanted to have some extended time to talk to staff and to get their inputs without telephone calls and, you know, all of those things,” Yarbrough told the paper. “I wanted them to be focused.”

And another Sun-Times report, published last month, focused on a report by prominent government watchdog and attorney Michael Shakman that found “several negative developments.”

Among those developments included the “an investigation by the county’s independent inspector general, Patrick Blanchard,” in which he “alleges ‘political reasons or factors affected’ the recorder’s October 2015 hiring” of Congressman Danny K. Davis’s nephew, the Sun-Times reported.

“Blanchard also says his office learned that an aide to Yarbrough — ‘with the support of the recorder herself’ — announced job openings at the recorder’s office to members of the Proviso Township political organization,” the paper reported.

In response to the Sun-Times query, a spokesman for Yarbrough stated that the recorder’s office “disagrees strongly” with Blanchard’s report.

The Sun-Times article also pointed out the considerable political influence of Yarbrough, whose husband is former Maywood mayor and sitting trustee Henderson Yarbrough.

“She’s the vice chair for the Democratic Party of Illinois,” the Sun-Times wrote. “On paper, she looks up only to Michael Madigan, the all-powerful party boss and speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives.

Yarbrough and Orr are scheduled to argue their candidacies before Democratic party committeemen, who will ultimately offer an endorsement, next week. VFP

To read the full Chicago Tribune report, click here

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The County’s Honoring of Eugene Moore Full of Irony and Pathos

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A screenshot of Cook County Recorder of Deeds Karen Yarbrough’s appearance on Chicago Tonight earlier this month. The Recorder of Deeds office, for decades occupied by either Yarbrough or the late Eugene Moore, pictured below, could consolidate with the county clerk’s office by 2020 if voters vote in favor of the measure on Nov. 8. 

gene_moore_rgbSaturday, August 27, 2016 || By Michael Romain || OPINION

It took some searching, but we finally tracked down the Cook County Board of Commissioner’s resolution honoring the late Cook County Recorder of Deeds, longtime Maywoodian and lifelong Proviso East Pirate Eugene “Gene” Moore.

Moore died on June 14 from prostate cancer. The next month, during a July 13 meeting, the county board voted unanimously on the resolution, which cited Moore’s contributions at the local, county and state level. You can read the full resolution underneath this post.

UPDATE: Moore’s old office (still) faces threat of consolidation 

Some may have noticed the irony in honoring the life of a former Recorder of Deed’s a month after the board acted to allow voters to decide on Nov. 8 whether or not the position should exist.

If a majority of voters decide that it shouldn’t, the recorder’s office (which includes its thousands of jobs and roughly $13 million budget) will be folded into the larger county clerk’s office.

The current recorder, Maywoodian Karen Yarbrough, a cinch for reelection in November, will be allowed to serve out her 4-year term before the consolidation takes full effect.

In June, Commissioner John Fritchey’s proposal to allow voters to decide on whether or not the office should be eliminated passed 10-5 (with two commissioners absent).

All five no votes came from the board’s African American commissioners, one of whom, the 1st District’s Richard Boykin (who represents Proviso Township), suggested that the measure represented an “all-out attack on black elected officials.” David Orr, the current county clerk, is white.

Proponents of the referendum, who include the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board, say getting rid of the office will save county taxpayers around $1 million. Some proponents also say that it’ll just be one less county hothouse of graft and patronage hires watchdogs will have to worry about.

Yarbrough, however, has noted that the cost-savings don’t really amount to much and  the projections may and may not be reliable, since the county board hasn’t really studied the issue.

Yarbrough has also argued that she’s already found millions in cost-savings during her tenure and that the recorder’s office provides certain services, like mortgage fraud prevention tools, that will wither if they’re placed under the clerk’s jurisdiction.

Regardless of the arguments, however, it seems that the referendum to consolidate the offices is likely to pass, a prospect that even Yarbrough’s allies have acknowledged.

Earlier this month, two commissioners who opposed the binding referendum introduced a measure that would call for the referendum question to “be limited to studying the concept of combining the offices” instead of actually combining them, the Chicago Tribune noted in an Aug. 2 editorial.

That measure failed and Fritchey’s referendum stands. Since then, Yarbrough has laid out her arguments against consolidation on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight.

In June, she told the Daily Herald that the recorder’s office, which basically keeps the county’s land records, isn’t laden with patronage hires like it had been in the past (another ironic and subtle invocation of the former recorder?).

That’s not to say there hasn’t been smoke.

In 2013, Yarbrough came under fire from the county’s inspector general and at least one board commissioner for what appeared to be the recorder’s violation of the county’s ethics ordinance barring the hiring of family members and friends.

Yarbrough’s office maintained that they had followed proper protocol and that the employees in question were hired because of their qualifications.

Beyond the allegations of patronage hiring, and the counterclaims made by the recorder; beyond the arguments for or against the existence of the office; one issue of particular resonance to people in Proviso Township, and in Maywood in particular, is that the office that has anchored two of this village’s major political personalities, one of whom has gone on to greater rewards, may be annihilated in several years.

We could be approaching the end of an era. And perhaps the beginning of a new one. What for some people translates into tax savings, for others translates into a loss, an abyss, the end of a world and/or the opportunity to create one anew. For whatever it’s worth. Good, bad or indifferent.

Now, be it resolved 

“PROPOSED RESOLUTION IN MEMORY OF FORMER COOK COUNTY RECORDER OF DEEDS EUGENE “GENE” MOORE WHEREAS, Eugene “Gene” Moore was born on July 19, 1942 in Baltzer, Mississippi to Sara Ella (“SE”) Burrell and Joseph Moore; and WHEREAS, Gene Moore moved to Maywood, Illinois at an early age;

and WHEREAS, Gene Moore graduated from Proviso Township High School in 1960, and attended Otero College in La Junta, Colorado on a football scholarship until an injury ended his football career;

and WHEREAS, Gene Moore was elected to his first political office, Commissioner on the Provisio Township of the Provisio Township Board of Trustees, in 1988; and WHEREAS, in 1999, Gene Moore was selected by the Democratic Party of Cook County to fill the role vacated by our current Secretary of State, Jesse White, as the Cook County Recorder of Deeds;

and WHEREAS, Gene Moore would later run for a full term and win the office of Cook County Recorder Deeds in a landslide;

and WHEREAS, Until his retirement in 2012, Gene Moore made many innovative changes and brought the Recorder of Deeds’ Office into the 21st century; and WHEREAS, Gene Moore created the “Property Fraud Unit” by joining forces with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, the FBI, and the Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court;

and WHEREAS Gene Moore served on numerous boards including: The Boys and Girls Club of West Cook County, The Proviso-Leyden Council on Community Action, the John C. Vaughn’s Scholarship Fund, and the Community Economic Development Association;

and WHEREAS, Gene Moore peacefully left this natural world on June 14, 2016; and WHEREAS, Gene Moore is survived by his children; DaWanna, Natalie, and Eric; his siblings: Barbara, Anise, Freddie, and Michael; six grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren;

and WHEREAS, Gene Moore was instrumental in starting and furthering the careers of many Cook County community leaders.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the President and the Cook County Board of Commissioners, on behalf of the residents of Cook County, do extend their deepest condolences and most heartfelt sympathy to the family, friends, and associates of Eugene “Gene” Moore;

and NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a suitable copy of this Resolution be tendered to the loved ones of Eugene “Gene” Moore as a means of communicating our deep respect and reverence for his commitment to public service and the people of Cook County.” VFP

This November, Voters to Decide on Whether to Keep the Cook County Recorder’s Office

Karen Yarbrough Photo

Recorder of Deeds Karen Yarbrough. The Cook County Board of Commissioners has approved a measure that would allow voters to decide on whether or not the county should fold the office into the clerk’s office. 

Friday, June 1, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews || @village_free || UPDATED: 6:25 p.m.

At a June 29 regular meeting, the Cook County Board of Commissioners voted 10-5 to attempt to do something that, in Illinois, is almost unthinkable — consolidate two government bodies into one, a move that proponents of the merger say will save taxpayers money and enhance services.

The board’s vote allows the referendum question of whether or not the recorder of deeds office should be submerged within the county clerk’s office, currently occupied by David Orr, to be put on the Nov. 8 ballot for voters to decide on the issue.

The mere discussion of consolidating the recorder’s office prompted Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin (1st), who voted against the measure — all five negative votes came from African-American board members — to channel the voice of his constituents, who he said believe the measure “is an all-out attack on black elected officials.”

“It’s Dorothy Brown last month,” Boykin said, referencing a failed attempt by Commissioner Peter Silvestri (9th) to make the Circuit Court clerk’s office an appointed post, “and it’s Karen Yarbrough this month, and they happen to be two black women officeholders.”

Boykin, whose district includes Maywood, Bellwood, Broadview, Melrose Park and other western suburbs, was elected with the support of Yarbrough — who, in her role as Proviso Township Democratic Committeeman, endorsed the first-term commissioner in his 2015 bid for the county board seat.

The commissioner’s comments prompted Commissioner John Fritchey (12th), who sponsored the measure, to push-back by touting his legislative record.

“I will put my record on work I’ve done in the African-American community against almost anybody — white, brown or black,” Fritchey was quoted as saying by the Chicago Tribune. “This is about reforming government.”

But even the Tribune had to point out the racial reverberations of Fritchey’s legislation, with the paper noting that an African-American has held the recorder’s office since 1988, when it was filled by Carol Moseley Braun, who was succeeded by Jesse White.

And the recorder’s office isn’t “the only office that has been viewed as belonging to someone of a certain color or race,” the Tribune notes. “The County Board presidency now held by [Preckwinkle] is considered by many Cook County Democrats to be a ‘black seat,’ and the city treasurer’s office viewed much the same way.

“The city clerk’s office has been occupied by Latinos for years, while the county clerk’s office has long been held by whites, including Orr, who applauded the referendum.”

Since 1999, the recorder’s seat has been occupied by a Maywoodian. Eugene Moore held the seat until 2012, when he retired. Yarbrough was elected his successor and is likely to coast to another term.

If voters approve the referendum question, which is binding, the recorder’s office will be consolidated into the clerk’s office by 2020.

Preckwinkle and other county board members who support the consolidation claim that it could translate into enhanced administrative efficiency and cost-savings of at least $800,000 a year. The clerk’s and recorder’s offices are both responsible for maintaining records and administering aspects of the property tax.

The clerk handles birth and death certificates, and the county’s legislative records; calculates property tax rates; facilitates suburban elections. The recorder maintains records of property ownership, real estate transfer taxes and tax liens, according to the Tribune. According to Greg Hinz of Crain’s, the clerk’s office has a $35 million budget while the recorder’s office has a $13 million budget.

Yarbrough’s office disputes the potential cost-savings of the merger that’s touted by its supporters. And the recorder defended her job performance, particularly in the areas of mortgage fraud prevention and office automation.

“My goal was to be the best recorder in the country,” Yarbrough said at the June 29 meeting. “And in the short term, I can boast and say I have.”

Hinz paraphrased Fritchey, who noted that the county’s attempt to eliminate the recorder’s office is the first time that it has attempted to do away with a government body since 1972, when the county coroner, an elected office, was turned into the medical examiner, an appointed office.

The Tribune noted that, “Most commissioners expect voters to approve the measure, something even Deputy Recorder Cedric Giles, an ardent defender of the boss, all but conceded even as he questioned the motives of those who would have the voters make the final call on the issue.”

Cook County, however, isn’t the only one making unprecedented attempts to consolidate governments. According to a July 1 Tribune report, DuPage County is looking to consolidate its clerk’s office and Election Commission. VFP

Correction: A previous version of this post included the wrong date of the Nov. 8, 2016 election. This post has since been updated. 

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Briefly: Operation Uplift Needs You; Property Fraud Talk Jan. 20, 6 PM; Jazz In Maywood; Library Events; More

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Maywood Chamber of Commerce leaders Audrey Jaycox and Edwin Walker IV, with Larry M. Goldberg, president and CEO of Loyola University Health System. | File

Wednesday, January 20, 2016 || By COMMUNITY EDITOR

The Maywood Chamber of Commerce will host a public discussion, featuring Cook County Recorder of Deeds Karen Yarbrough, on property and mortgage fraud, which is one of the fastest growing white collar crimes. Frausters often target paid-for homes that have no mortgage.

Learn how to protect your real estate against property fraud. Also, learn about a special discount program especially for veterans.

Wednesday, Jan. 20 || 6 PM to 8 PM || Maywood Multipurpose Building, 200 S. 5th Ave., Maywood, IL || Refreshments provided || For more info, or to register, call 708.345.7077

Operation Uplift Needs Your Help

Northica Stone, President:CEO of Operation Uplift

Northica Stone, founder and CEO of Operation Uplift. | File

Northica Stone, President and CEO of Maywood’s Operation Uplift, Edward Millon, Chairman of the Board and L. Jeri Stenson, Curator of the West Town Museum of Cultural History, are reaching out to the members of the community, particularly alumnae and anyone who has benefited from the services and resources offered by Uplift and the Museum.

“We are asking for much-needed monetary donations to keep our doors open,” said Mrs. Stone.

Uplift has served the people of the western suburbs for more than 40 years. The museum, established by Stone in 1995, offers a plethora of information for anyone involved in historic preservation, research and exhibits through its archives of photos, videos, oral histories, etc.

“We desperately need your help now to continue,” added Museum Curator Stenson. “Uplift and the Museum area vital resources to the area.”

Checks made payable to Operation Uplift can be sent directly to 104 S. 5th Avenue, Maywood, Il 60153 and all money raised will be used to cover the daily operating expenses.

For more information you can call 708-289-4955 (ask for Jeri) and 708-516-0628 (ask for Mrs. N. Stone).

ACA Enrollment || Jan. 23, 12 PM to 6 PM

Dear Community Partners,

Open enrollment in insurance plans under the ACA ends on January 31st.  Insurance coverage will be critical this year because of steep penalties for individuals without coverage.

If you do not sign up in 2016

The fee is calculated two different ways — as a percentage

of your household income, and per person. You’ll pay

whichever is higher.

Percentage of income:

* 2.5% of household income

* Maximum: Bronze plan for an individual is $207 per

person per month and $1035 per month for a family of

five or more

Per person Penalty:

* $695 per adult (Annual)

* $347.50 per child under 18 (Annual)

* Maximum: $2,085

Westlake Hospital want to help you get the coverage you need.  We will be hosting an Open Enrollment Fair on Saturday, January 23rd from Noon to 6:00 pm in the Registration/Admissions area of the hospital.  Please see the attached flyer for further details.  Encourage everyone you know who is without medical insurance coverage to attend this important event.  Please feel free to distribute the attached flyers.

Jazz in Maywood || Jan. 30 || 6 PM

Jazz in Maywood January

Upcoming Maywood Library Events

Maywood Public Library

Utility Bill Clinic

The office of State Representative Chris Welch, along with the Citizens Utility Board (CUB), will provide a utility bill clinic on Monday, February 22nd, from 4:30-6:30 pm in room 201 of the Maywood Public Library District. Those who attend may bring their bills for electricity, gas, or telephone for consultation by C.U.B.’s experts.  To learn more about C.U.B., please visit their website at http://www.citizensutilityboard.org.

Mo Beat Blues

On Saturday, February 20th, at 11:30 am, Mo Beat Blues will perform in room 201 of the Maywood Public Library District.  Along with music, Mo Beat Blues will also discuss the history of Blues, an African American form of music.

How Will I Achieve My Goals: Book Signing and Presentation

Regina R. Carver, a Certified Life Coach, will be visiting the Maywood Public Library District on Saturday, February 27th, at 12:00 noon, to discuss the ideas in her book, How Will I Achieve My Goals: Six Simple Steps to Proven Success. Books will be available for purchase. This event will take place on the third floor of the Carnegie Building in room 201.

Quilting: Step-By-Step Instruction

If you are interested in learning how to construct quilts, please leave your information for Mildred A. Green at the Library by calling 708-343-1847, and ask for Information Services. The Quilting class meets at the Maywood Public Library District on every Tuesday from 12:00 noon until 2:30 pm in rooms 201 and 202.

Instructions in Sewing

People who are interested in learning some of the basic skills involved in constructing clothing will want to take this free class in rooms 201 and 202 of the Maywood Public Library District on Thursdays from 12:00 noon until 2:30 pm.  Space is limited. In order to begin taking classes, please leave your information for Mildred A. Green at 708-343-1847. VFP