WGN Investigates gets results: Formal complaint filed against judge

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A judicial inquiry board filed a formal complaint Friday against Cook County circuit judge Beatriz Santiago accusing her of lying about her residency.

A WGN Investigation showed Judge Beatriz Santiago decided to run for the bench when she lived in the house she still owns out of her sub-circuit.

But because a judge must live in-their sub-circuit, Santiago said she moved back to her childhood home, a two flat, with her 10 brothers and sisters and their spouses and all of their kids.

She once told an election hearing officer on the record that she moved in with her parents to take care of her ailing father. She said she only brought make-up and clothes and left behind furniture and a big screen TV at her house so she could rent it to family.

Keeping track of where a judge lives has always been a murky problem for some court watchers.

One said, "The issue of residency as we all know is such an elusive thing. This idea of residency within the district seems to be a slippery slope.”

It is slippery enough for Judge Santiago that the Judicial Inquiry Board filed a formal complaint today.

The board's report cited our WGN Investigation where we uncovered her home mortgage and her signature stating it was her primary residency. Again, that house isn't in her sub-circuit.

The board today, accused Judge Santiago of making false statements to the mortgage company. The complaint said she “attempted to and did deceive her mortgage lender by making several misrepresentations in her mortgage application documents.” And that she had no intention of establishing residency at that property.

The formal complaint sets in motion a process that can lead to discipline that includes removal from the bench.

Note: The WGN Investigation series was done in conjunction with Northwestern University's Medill Watchdog Group.


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