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County recorder decides to support fee hike after all

Tuesday, October 26, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times

Just four months ago, Cook County Recorder Eugene Moore spent taxpayer money to fight legislation designed to add $10 to recording fees, with the revenues used to build affordable housing throughout Illinois.

Monday, Moore announced his support for the same bill, drawing praise from former critics, who publicly thanked him for his "leadership" and "gracious support."

"With a strong coalition, we'll pass this legislation in the fall veto session," said Julie Dworkin of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.

The bill would bring $30 million for programs aimed at providing more affordable housing across the state, though most of it would be for Cook County, which would see real estate recording fees increase to $36.50.

Enter the lobbyists

The bill was pushed for passage in the spring, but Moore hired lobbyists to successfully kill it.

That drew the wrath of those like Dworkin, as more than 40 bipartisan legislators joined to back it.

At the time, critics said Moore was afraid of political backlash possible from adding recording fees before the Democratic primary. They said he promised his support after the primary.

But Monday, Moore denied politics had anything to do with his position, saying he wasn't included in earlier discussions on the bill, which caused him to fight it.

Dworkin said Moore was consulted early, but the bill advanced quicker than expected and he wasn't consulted in the closing stages.

John Cox, Moore's Republican opponent for the seat, said Monday's press conference was the work of "a pure politician."

Opponent points to politics

Cox, who has campaigned on a position of abolishing the office, will try to take the seat from Moore in next week's election.

"He's playing politics just like he does with the patronage opportunities in his office," Cox said of Moore's Monday announcement.

Commissioner Larry Suffredin, though, said earlier differences were "governmental" and they'll now present the bill with a "unified approach." Tom McNulty, of the Chicago Low Income Housing Trust Fund, said he expects the bill to pass, given "the gracious support of Recorder Moore."

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