While looking over donations being contributed to various candidates, we ran across something we found interesting regarding Chief Deputy Clerk, Keith Brin, who is now running for Circuit Court Clerk of Lake County. It seems as though one of his biggest contributors, Harris & Harris Collection Agency in Chicago, has a real sweetheart deal with Lake County when it comes to collecting overdue fines. They appear to be sitting in the driver’s seat as the ‘number one priority’ for people paying off fines.
What does it mean to be in the “number one priority” position? Remember this summer when Island Lake hired a collection agency to collect fines from parking ticket scofflaws? That firm got paid $10 per ticket and their contract was based on the number of tickets that they were able to collect fines on. It appears as though Harris & Harris Collection Agency has an even better deal. Reportedly, they are getting paid before the Court, before the victim, etc. on fines collected due to their ‘priority‘ position. Sure appears to be a pretty sweet deal! This company has been discussed online for some time regarding their tactics, often demanding payments for fines that were already paid. By statute, the State’s Attorney contracts with the collection agency but it must also be approved by the Circuit Court Clerk. We are not here to judge Harris & Harris, Ltd. on their business practices but do wonder if their sweetheart deal with Lake County had anything to do with their $500 political contribution to Keith Brin’s campaign since he would be in a position to renew the contract (and possibly involved in the original approval). Is it just me or does this fail to pass the smell test?