What? You didn't know Joe Berrios was also a lobbyist?
If you thought former Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios had been banished to wherever the Chicago Machine stores its newly clout-less, think again.
Vanquished by political neophyte and former finance executive Fritz Kaegi in the 2018 Democrat primary, Berrios, 67, left office last December and quickly re-started his former side business as a state government lobbyist.
Berrios' firm-- "J.B. Consulting, Inc."-- was last active in 2010, per state records. That's while he was a sitting member of the Cook County Board of Review, which hears property tax appeals.
The Illinois Secretary of State reports Berrios re-registered J.B. Consulting on Jan. 29, then took state-mandated ethics and "anti sexual-harassment" compliance training on Feb. 4.
Berrios now partners with the lobbying firm of former state Sen. Sam Panayotovich. Their clients include tobacco giant Altria (formerly Philip Morris), Comcast, the Illinois Licensed Beverage Association, the Illinois State Bowling Proprietors Association, the City of Calumet City and the Chicago Heights Park District.
Berrios also works for Gov. Jim Thompson aide-turned-lobbyist Zach Stamp, whose clients include the Illinois Bankers Association, the pro-decriminalization Marijuana Policy Project and the Chicago Votes Action Fund, which was the "official sponsor of election activities in the Cook County Jail" in 2018.
The Berrios family business
Berrios has been business partners with Panayotovich since the 1980s.
They have represented the Illinois Gaming Machine Operators Association, which make and distributes video poker machines, since 2004.
In 2009, when Springfield legislators voted to legalize video poker in Illinois, Berrios and Panayotovich lobbied for the bill's passage. One of the state representatives who voted 'yes' was Maria Berrios, Joe's daughter.
Maria served in the Statehouse from 2003 through 2015. She lost her primary election in 2014 to current state Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago), a socialist.
Berrios started MAB Strategies, her own state lobbying firm, in February 2015, a month after leaving office. Her clients include Exelon, Midwest Title Loans and the Illinois Automatic Merchandising Council, which represents vending machine owners, where she partners with her father and Panayotovich.
Joe Berrios served two terms in the Illinois House of Representatives, from 1986-1990, before joining the Cook County Board of Review.