Ethics accusations fly in Cook County Board of Review race

Larecia Tucker has emerged as challenger against commissioner Larry Rogers Jr.

Ethics Accusations fly in Cook County Board of Review Race
From left: Board of Review Commissioner Larry Rogers and Larecia Tucker (Getty, Larecia Tucker, Cook County Board of Review)

In the run-up to the March Democratic primary, ethics concerns have emerged in the race for Cook County Board of Review commissioner, with challenger Larecia Tucker leveling accusations against incumbent Larry Rogers Jr.

Tucker has raised concerns about Rogers’ past employment of his half-brother, Frederic Everly, and his subsequent facilitation of property tax breaks for Everly’s clients, the Chicago Sun-Times reported

Rogers, a seasoned commissioner with two decades of service, previously employed Everly at the Board of Review before Everly transitioned into a career as a tax appeals lawyer. Documents obtained by WBEZ reveal instances in which Rogers’ aides assisted in securing property tax reductions for Everly’s clients, prompting Tucker to question the ethics and legality of such actions.

Tucker, a township official and real estate agent from Chicago Heights, has cited all of that as evidence that Rogers is unfit for another term on the Board of Review. With significant financial backing from Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi, Tucker has positioned herself as a candidate committed to transparency and fair governance.

Kaegi’s involvement in the election has added another layer of controversy. Rogers alleges that Kaegi is seeking to influence the outcome to protect his own interests, undermining the independence of the Board of Review and potentially compromising the integrity of property tax assessments in Cook County.

“Anybody who looks at this race has to be appalled by Fritz Kaegi funding the person who would be in charge of reviewing his own work,” Rogers told the outlet. “It’s a conflict of interest that is impermissible and should offend every taxpayer in Cook County.”

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In response to the allegations, Rogers maintained that he delegates all case decisions to qualified staff and denied any personal involvement in his brother’s cases. He emphasized that decisions favoring Everly’s clients, like any other case before the board, undergo review by all three commissioners.

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Furthermore, Rogers addressed questions about campaign contributions from property tax appeals lawyers, contending that he adheres to ethics rules regarding such donations.

Despite criticism, Rogers is backed by several prominent elected officials, including Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. He positions himself as the experienced candidate best suited to represent a diverse district covering a third of the county, the outlet reported.

In contrast, Tucker portrays herself as an independent voice committed to serving property owners, particularly in underserved communities. She pledges not to bow to pressure from Kaegi, asserting her autonomy and readiness to advocate for constituents’ interests.

—Quinn Donoghue