A lawyer who was part of the defense team for former Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke has ousted the sole Republican on the Cook County Board of Review.
A final tally of votes from the Cook County clerk’s office and from the Chicago Board of Election commissioners showed Democrat Tammy Wendt ahead of Dan Patlak, who has served on the board since 2010, by 11,693 votes — a 1.5-percentage-point margin.
In a statement Tuesday, Wendt thanked her team and supporters and said she was humbled and “can barely believe this is my reality.”
“I have a big job to do, and I’m looking forward to diving in and doing my very best for my constituents, just as I have promised during my campaign,” Wendt wrote. “I am looking forward to filling my staff with qualified professionals who I can lead into this next chapter with the Board of Review.”
The three-member board reviews and potentially modifies property assessments in Cook County.
Patlak is a former Wheeling Township assessor.
He said he called to congratulate Wendt and offer his cooperation as she transitions into the office. In a Facebook statement, he thanked “every property owner, taxpayer and citizen for allowing me to serve you.”
“For ten great years I have had the distinct privilege of serving the people of Cook County as a commissioner at the Board of Review,” Patlak wrote. “My goal from the beginning was to serve the public by executing my duties with integrity and I leave office with hope that the people of Cook County believe I have achieved that goal.”
He went on to say he “delayed” issuing a statement because of a “failure in transparency” at the clerk’s office to explain a discrepancy “between ballots counted post-election versus the number of ballots the Clerk’s own records say should exist.”
“While I am not suggesting that any irregularities have occurred, their failure to do so much as respond to my requests gives me little confidence that they executed their duties with precision,” Patlak wrote. “This failure in transparency is regrettable because it affects the public perception of the competence of our election apparatus. Hopefully, the Clerk’s office will offer, and soon, a full accounting of their actions.”
Wendt is a former assistant Cook County state’s attorney best known for being part of the defense team that represented Van Dyke in the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.
The newly elected board of review commissioner helped defend Van Dyke, who was convicted of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery for the shooting death of McDonald in 2014.
That was just one case in a long legal career, she told the Chicago Sun-Times in January.