Endorsement: Wendt for Board of Review in Cook County Dist. 1
In the Democratic primary for the District 1 seat on the three-member Cook County Board of Review, the choice is between Tammy Wendt, the sitting commissioner, and 12th Ward Alderman George Cardenas.
Both have been accused of nepotism, and Wendt is presently being sued by the Ethics Board for not firing her first cousin and top aide, Todd Thielmann, which the Ethics Board ordered in March. Wendt hired Thielmann in December 2020, right after she took office, at a time when Cook County code banned the hiring of first cousins but Board of Review rules did not. Cook County rules take precedence over BOR rules, so Wendt did something she shouldn't have and is now compounding the error by failing to fire Thielmann.
We're not thrilled. Still, as long as she fires Thielmann as directed, we prefer her to Cardenas, who has had nepotism issues of his own -- the Tribune discovered he put his father on the payroll and rented space for his ward office in a building owned by himself and other family members.
In short, neither candidate is a dream.
However, in her short tenure, Wendt, a real estate attorney, has so far not gotten cozy with the other two members of the Board of Review, both of whom are working against Assessor Fritz Kaegi's efforts to level the property tax playing field in Cook County by reassessing commercial property at fairer levels. By all accounts, her staff -- including Thielmann -- seems to be trying to do the right thing. We support Kaegi's efforts, and therefore we support having at least one member of the Board of Review who isn't trying to undermine him.
Wendt is endorsed, but Thielmann must go.