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Beavers' indictment to impact Cook County remap

Friday, February 24, 2012
Crain's Chicago Business
by Greg Hinz

The indictment of Cook County Commissioner Bill Beavers on federal tax-evasion charges may well have an impact on a big political matter in which he was involved: the upcoming county remap.

Mr. Beavers was pushing for the selection of Burt Odelson as the board's legal adviser on how to reapportion the 17 districts from which commissioners are elected. A couple of weeks ago, Mr. Beavers actually introduced a resolution to approve that appointment, but it was ruled out of order on a technicality.

Having an ally as the county's lawyer obviously would help any commissioner worried that their district might disappear or be unfavorably shaped in a remap.

Insiders say Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle has someone else in mind for the highly sensitive post. In discussions with commissioners, she has mentioned hiring Judd Miner (President Barack Obama's former law partner) or Courtney Nottage, who works in the firm of Rahm Emanuel's election lawyer, Mike Kasper.

Now, Mr. Odelson is a top attorney with much experience in election law, and he has no involvement in Mr. Beavers' alleged misconduct. Moreover, Mr. Beavers was not the only commissioner pushing to select Mr. Odelson.

But having the wrong sponsor won't help Mr. Odelson get the job. Meanwhile, there's talk that Latino commissioners want to hire someone else.

So Mr. Beavers' indictment has ripples — at least in a remap, and likely in a bunch of other ways, too.

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