Recorder of Deeds staffers accused of political motive in firing

Written By Brian Slodysko Posted: 07/17/2014, 10:50am

Top staffers to Cook County Recorder of Deeds Karen Yarbrough are under fire for allegedly firing an employee for political reasons and then trying to thwart inquiries into the matter.

In a report released Wednesday, county Inspector General Pat Blanchard found Yarbrough’s senior staffers had politics in mind when they fired a male employee shortly after Yarbrough took the elected office in Dec. 2012. 

What’s more, when a federally-appointed hiring monitor made inquiries into the firing, Yarbrough’s staff  “acted with intent to mislead” the federal monitor, according to the report. 

Later, when Blanchard tried to investigate the firing, Yarbrough’s senior staffers —who are unnamed in the report — refused to cooperate. 

Blanchard’s findings are just the latest in a series of controversies that have dogged the  former Democratic state representative in the less than two years she has held county office. 

During that time, Yarbrough has put a family member on the payroll and hired several people with political ties to her, as well as to her husband, former Maywood Mayor Henderson Yarbrough.

And she has borrowed a legal argument used by Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios, claiming that the county’s ethics ordinance — which bars the hiring of family members — doesn’t apply to her as an independently elected office holder.

A Yarbrough spokesman could not be reached for comment Wednesday evening.

Blanchard recommended the unnamed staffers be disciplined, but stopped short of calling for their firings. 

However, Blanchard did recommend one of the staffers, who is no longer employed by Yarbrough’s office,  be placed on a “do not hire” list. 

Browse More 'Chicago'