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    Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi appears on track to break free of a 12-year-old federal monitor, spurring allegations from Clerk Karen Yarbrough’s office of preferential treatment.

    Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi’s office could be on track to shake loose a federal hiring monitor that’s dogged the office for nearly a decade, a potential breakthrough that could give Kaegi a boost ahead of a grueling reelection campaign. 

    But a separate monitor spurred by attorney Michael Shakman’s 52-year-old anti-patronage lawsuit shows no signs of leaving county Clark Karen Yarbrough’s office, which came under the shadow of federal oversight last year. And a senior official in Yarbrough’s office is calling the purpose of the Shakman probe into question, saying the lawsuit has created a “cottage industry” for lawyers to squeeze money from county taxpayers. 

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