Joe “The Lobster” Berrios pats himself on the back for his lobbying efforts to expand video gambling in the state- meaning in Cook County and Chicago. He believes, and tells anyone who will listen, that it was one of his greatest accomplishments.
It is no secret who owns the companies that manufacture, own, distribute, and service the machines. They also take a split of the profits from bar owners and others who place the gambling devices in their places of business. The guys who own the gambling enterprise are a, ahem, “syndicate” of investors. You know those guys, yeah those guys. Sure you know those guys. The guys who do “tings” for and to people. Joe Berrios works for those guys.
It would only be natural for The Lobster to have a relationship with those guys. He is the Chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party, which was formed with the help of those guys. Those guys have been involved in the party throughout the decades. They still are today.
What is peculiarly interesting is Joe The Lobster, in his official capacities as a party Chairman and a member of the Cook County Board of Review, never lobbied for property tax reform on behalf of the people. He has never lobbied for ethics reform either. As a public servant and a member of the ruling party- which elects public servants- he never has taken up the interest of the people who vote. As a matter of fact, his lobbying firm- Lobsters Are Us- has never lobbied in the public interest. Always against it.
He does assist Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan though. He helps Madigan with his law firm. Madigan’s law firm does property tax relief work for major clients to the tune of ten to twenty million dollars a year in fees. Joe The Lobster works for the highest bidder- not the people who elect him. Now he is running for Cook County Assessor. Who do you think Lobby is going to work for if he gets elected?
There ought to be a law forbidding elected officials from lobbying- any lobbying. There also should be a law prohibiting elected officials from having business interests- conflicts of interest- like property tax relief law firms. Of course, this being Illinois, that will never happen. The people have no lobby for their interests. The people cannot afford lobsters.
Won’t you Democrats be so proud if he wins. Can you see the gilt letters on the door leading to his office in the County Building?