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*** UPDATED x1 - Berrios campaign responds *** Kaegi sends cease and desist letter to Berrios over TV ad

Thursday, Dec 14, 2017

* I don’t know if I’ve ever told you this story, but when I was in 6th Grade I lost the county spelling bee because I misspelled the word “assessor.” I knew how to spell it. I had seen a billboard with a candidate running for the office. I was just too embarrassed to spell a-s-s in front of a bunch of people during an event broadcast live on the radio. I got to a-s and then froze. I could feel my face getting beet red. After what seemed like forever, I spelled it a-s-e-s-s-o-r. And that was the end of that. So, quite often when I write about this topic I flash back to my first public humiliation.

Anyway, maybe now that I’ve told my horrific story I can start healing myself. /s

The background on this press release, including the Berrios ad, is here. From the Kaegi campaign…

In response to the recent television commercial created by current Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios’ re-election campaign, progressive Democrat Fritz Kaegi’s campaign served Assessor Berrios and his campaign staff with a cease and desist letter demanding an immediate removal of the allegedly defamatory ad. Rebecca Reynolds, Kaegi’s campaign manager, issued the following statement:

“The Berrios campaign claim that Fritz Kaegi personally managed investments in private prisons is a malicious lie intended to mislead voters and deflect from Berrios’ history of incompetence, corruption and pay-to-play practices as Assessor. Assessor Berrios’ campaign and its allies continue to spread lies in the public sphere. Therefore, in order to set the record straight, and hold Berrios accountable for his actions, our team has no alternative but to seek legal remedy.

“The notion that Fritz personally managed investments in the prison-management sector is a complete and utter fabrication - one that could easily be discovered with minimal effort. The Berrios campaign points to Columbia Acorn Fund holdings as of March 31, 2017. But Fritz was not a portfolio manager on the Columbia Acorn Fund at this date. He provided notice of his resignation on February 28, 2017, and stepped down from the funds he managed on March 13, 2017. Fritz would not have allowed such an investment, not only because those companies operate in a way that he finds morally reprehensible; but also because they tend to make for a poor investment.

“While misleading voters to attack Fritz is shameful on its own, the fact that Berrios is politicizing an issue that continues to cause so much pain within the very communities he himself is preying upon is beyond the pale. We demand that Assessor Berrios discontinue this fallacious attack ad immediately and issue an apology to Mr. Kaegi.”

I’m having some trouble uploading the file, but I’ll post the cease and desist letter when I can. UPDATE: Click here for the file.

*** UPDATE *** Berrios campaign…

Today, our campaign office received a cease and desist letter from Fritz Kaegi requesting that we take down our television ad that demonstrates that while he was employed at Columbia Wagner Asset Management, where he designed and implemented investment strategies.

As a senior portfolio manager of Columbia Acorn Fund (ACRNX), Fritz and his fund managers invested in companies with bad track records. Most notable are:

    $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.
    $44 million invested in DeVry University, which was sued for false advertisements that target lower-income communities
    $41 million invested in Celanese Corp, which was Accused of contaminating water with cancer-causing chemicals in 2014
    $21 million invested in Centene Corp, Health insurer criticized for refusing to cover surgery for infant with brain tumor
    $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
    $196 million invested in MB Financial, bailed out by federal government
    $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

Shame on Fritz Kaegi for using Wall Street tactics to run from his record of bad investments that hurt working families, African Americans, Latinos and the undocumented community. He cannot run away from his record and voters have a right to know Fritz Kaegi’s lack of values.

I’m kind of impressed by the Berrios campaign’s speed and its harshness. I thought he’d be helming an old steam ship. Nope.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

21 Comments
  1. - Chicago Cynic - Thursday, Dec 14, 17 @ 4:56 pm:

    Why would they say “allegedly defamatory ad.” They are the ones asserting the ad IS defamatory.


  2. - Anonish - Thursday, Dec 14, 17 @ 5:02 pm:

    Might be an issue of specific legal terminology. Could be that it is only defamation if the judge rules that it is. Until then it is an allegation.


  3. - wordslinger - Thursday, Dec 14, 17 @ 5:06 pm:

    –Why would they say “allegedly defamatory ad.” They are the ones asserting the ad IS defamatory. –

    Hilarious.


  4. - Fax Machine - Thursday, Dec 14, 17 @ 5:12 pm:

    SEC reports are quarterly so we know that Kaegi’s fund did not hold prison investments on 12/31/16 and that it did on 3/31/17. Kaegi left on 3/13/17.

    So unless Kaegi has proof that the investment was made between 3/14/17 & 3/31/17 Berrios has every right to air this ad.


  5. - Wensicia - Thursday, Dec 14, 17 @ 5:21 pm:

    Zorn offers a scathing column on Berrios’ desperation.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/zorn/ct-perspec-berrios-kaegi-raila-1215-20171214-story.html


  6. - ??? - Thursday, Dec 14, 17 @ 5:23 pm:

    Welcome to politics/campaigning, Fritz. Virtually all negative ads are full of sound bites and half-truths meant to mislead voters about the opponent. Grow a thicker skin.


  7. - Amalia - Thursday, Dec 14, 17 @ 5:23 pm:

    who are the Berrios consultants? things flying fast out of that shop.


  8. - DuPage Saint - Thursday, Dec 14, 17 @ 5:44 pm:

    Rich, just be careful spelling the name of the Cook County Board president


  9. - wordslinger - Thursday, Dec 14, 17 @ 5:46 pm:

    –$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–

    TransUnion was owned for a long time by the Pritzkers, then the Pritzkers and Madison Dearborn Partners, before selling to Goldman Sachs.

    Small world.


  10. - Just Visiting - Thursday, Dec 14, 17 @ 6:22 pm:

    =I thought he’d be helming an old steam ship=

    He is Rich. It’s also known as the Cook County Assessors Office.


  11. - Ha ha ha - Thursday, Dec 14, 17 @ 6:43 pm:

    The irony of Berrios telling another candidate to be ashamed of himself is beyond belief.

    One of Joe’s favorite boasts is that he was the first Latino elected to the General Assembly. True. Yet he often omits that he ran unopposed for the seat.


  12. - Ron - Thursday, Dec 14, 17 @ 8:07 pm:

    Anyone but Berrios


  13. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Thursday, Dec 14, 17 @ 8:13 pm:

    ==The Berrios campaign points to Columbia Acorn Fund holdings as of March 31, 2017. But Fritz was not a portfolio manager on the Columbia Acorn Fund at this date. He provided notice of his resignation on February 28, 2017, and stepped down from the funds he managed on March 13, 2017.==

    Your honor, my company started investing in private prisons a couple weeks after I stepped down. Big difference.

    Come on, this was totally predictable. Berrios used the same strategy against Claypool. Portray himself as the neighborhood guy. Portray the other guy as elitist. It is effective and has some basis in reality.

    Kaegi needs to get it together. Suing for defamation is almost as bad as the opposition piece itself. This is legitimate and predictable opposition research.


  14. - TKMH - Thursday, Dec 14, 17 @ 8:27 pm:

    Kaegi shouldn’t be whining, he should be responding by hitting Berrios even harder. This is a waste of time.


  15. - City Zen - Thursday, Dec 14, 17 @ 8:48 pm:

    “$196 million invested in MB Financial, bailed out by federal government”

    The local Laborers, Plumbers, Elevator, and Iron Worker unions are all on record as doing business with MB Financial. Apparently “Wall Street tactics” don’t fall far from the elevator shaft.


  16. - justacitizen - Thursday, Dec 14, 17 @ 9:57 pm:

    Rich, since there are no statute of limitations anymore u should protest the assessor word - inappropriate for 6th grade. You could retroactively win that spelling B.


  17. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Dec 14, 17 @ 10:59 pm:

    A cease and desist letter?

    Those things that people pay a lawyer $50 to send on his own letterhead instead of fighting a losing court case, in order to attempt to intimidate people who don’t understand how useless a cease and desist letter is?

    I have one framed in my spare room that someone sent to me. It was just too funny to not make into a trophy of sorts.

    Don’t send a cease and desist letter. It makes you look weak.


  18. - Ron - Thursday, Dec 14, 17 @ 11:15 pm:

    Any polling on Berrios favorables? He’s got be below Trump.


  19. - Anonymous - Friday, Dec 15, 17 @ 8:42 am:

    I like the winds of reform. Big boss Madigan can’t like any of this..


  20. - Chicagonk - Friday, Dec 15, 17 @ 9:27 am:

    Joe Berrios - Class Warrior

    Best joke I’ve heard all day.


  21. - hisgirlfriday - Friday, Dec 15, 17 @ 10:20 am:

    Fritz just brought more attention to this story by whining about it.


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