The truth about Berrios' lies
Berrios campaign continues to push false statements to media, voters
Kaegi campaign again corrects the record
In response to embattled incumbent Assessor Joe Berrios’ campaign’s continued false statements about his opponent, progressive Democrat Fritz Kaegi, Kaegi campaign manager Rebecca Reynolds issued the following statement on Friday:
“Joe Berrios continues to waste time and energy on smears filled with distortions and factual errors. If the Assessor spent as much time on the duty of accurately assessing property taxes as he does on spreading lies about Fritz, the residents of Cook County might be better off.
“Fritz proudly stands by his ethical investment record while at Columbia Acorn and will continue to provide access to any and all records available from his tenure there. Assessor Berrios should be ashamed of his conduct and should treat the voters with the respect they deserve.
“If the Assessor is not willing to provide facts, allow me to assist him in setting the record straight:
The following is a list of incorrect claims the Berrios campaign circulated to media on 12/14/17, along with the correct information about Fritz’s investment history:
Corrections Corporation of America
Berrios claim: $29 million invested in the Corrections Corporation of America, a private prison operator that lobbied for legislation increasing incarcerations in the U.S. Such policies have been shown to unfairly target African Americans, Latinos, and undocumented immigrants.
Fact: During Fritz’s time as a portfolio manager at the Acorn Fund, the fund never held investment positions in any company that is part of the private prison industry. Nor did he invest in any detention facilities that unfairly targeted African Americans, Latinos or undocumented immigrants. Here are the SEC filings for his tenure:
Berrios claim: $44 million invested in DeVry University, which was sued for false advertisements that target lower-income communities.
Fact: The Department of Education placed DeVry under the lowest level of a special supervision known as Heightened Cash Management https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/about/data-center/school/hcm. In 2016, Fritz viewed these stringent enforcement measures as
Berrios claim: $41 million invested in Celanese Corp, which was Accused of contaminating water with cancer-causing chemicals in 2014.
Fact: In January 2015, the Harpootlian Law Firm and the Louthian Law Firm publicly entered into settlement talks with Hoechst-Celanese Corporation on behalf of the citizens of Cannon’s Campground:
http://www.goupstate.com/news/20150119/settlement-talks-under-way-in-cannons-campground-pollution-case By March of 2016, the parties had reached a confidential agreement. Here’s the link from the lead law firm: http://www.louthianlaw.com/cannon-campground/. The Acorn Fund did not invest
Berrios Claim: $21 million invested in Centene Corp, Health insurer criticized for refusing to cover surgery for
Fact: That claim is false; the insurer provided the patient with coverage. Here is a report of her doing well: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/07/12/texas-baby-doing-great-after-emergency-brain-surgery.html
Note, this event took place two years before the Acorn Fund purchased the stock in the summer of 2016.
Berrios Claim: $19 million invested in Navigant Consulting, a consulting firm accused of charging Long Island Port Authority exorbitant fees while assisting with response to Hurricane Sandy.
Fact: Navigant Consulting was cleared of all wrongdoing by an investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York on November 27, 2013, three years before the Acorn Fund invested a single dollar in the company. The company had been cleared of the accusation when the Acorn Fund invested in the company in 2012. https://www.thestreet.com/story/12127937/1/navigant-issues-statement-about-us-attorney8217s-office-conclusion-of-investigation-with-no-wrongdoing-indicated.html
Berrios Claim: $196 million invested in MB Financial, bailed out by
Fact: During the 2008-2009 financial crisis, almost a decade before the Acorn Fund took an investment position in MB Financial, the bank received $196 million from the federal government. At the time, ProPublica created the Bailout Tracker: “Tracking Every Dollar and Every Recipient.” A check of that tracker reveals that MB Financial fully repaid the loan and the government made $33.6 million in interest. Here is a link to the Bailout Tracker: http://projects.propublica.org/bailout/entities/308-mb-financial The crisis took place six years before Fritz was a portfolio manager at the Acorn Fund. In 2015, MB Financial won the President’s “E” Award for Export Services. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20150519007183/en/MB-Financial-Bank-Receives-2015-President%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%9CE%E2%80%9D
Berrios Claim: $52 million invested in TransUnion, Credit tracking agency that settled claims from New York Attorney General that it failed to properly respond to consumer complaints about mistakes in credit reports.
Fact: The claim lacks necessary context with which to evaluate the investment. A New York Attorney General settlement placed significant new requirements (http://money.cnn.com/2015/03/09/pf/credit-reporting-agencies-settlement/index.html) on how all three credit tracking companies affected by this complaint,