A Cook County judge is facing an ethics complaint alleging she made misrepresentations on a mortgage application regarding a residence that is outside the subcircuit she won election from in 2012.
The complaint brought Friday by the Judicial Inquiry Board names Circuit Judge Beatriz Santiago, who sits in the 1st Municipal District’s traffic section.
In her statement for candidacy filed in 2011, Santiago said she lived in a home owned by her parents on West Potomac Avenue in the city, placing her in the 6th Judicial Subcircuit.
She also owned property on North Spaulding Avenue in the 7th Judicial Subcircuit. Under state law, Santiago would not have been eligible to run for a 6th Subcircuit vacancy if she, at the time of her candidacy, lived at the Spaulding property, the complaint says.
Her residence became an issue in the primary campaign when an objector alleged she actually lived at the Spaulding home outside of the subcircuit. The Cook County Officers Electoral Board adopted a hearing officer’s report denying the objector’s challenge.
The JIB complaint asserts that between June 2013 and March 2014, in connection to the refinancing of the Spaulding mortgage, Santiago “attempted to and did deceive her mortgage lender by making several misrepresentations in her mortgage application documents that caused her lender to believe she intended to occupy the Spaulding property as her primary residence within 60 days of executing a mortgage agreement, when in fact she resided at another property and had no intention of establishing residency at the Spaulding property.”
The complaint alleges Santiago violated Illinois Supreme Court Rule 61, relating to upholding the integrity and independence of the judiciary. The complaint also asserts she violated Supreme Court Rule 62(2), stating that judges should comply with the law and in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.
The matter proceeds to seven members of the Illinois Courts Commission. If allegations of misconduct are deemed proven, the commission can issue sanctions ranging from a reprimand to removal from office.
George B. Collins — a partner at Collins, Bargione & Vuckovich who represents Santiago — said she does not deny signing the mortgage documents. She also did not cheat the mortgage company, he said.
“We will contend that the offense is not so gross as to cause her to be removed from the bench,” Collins said.
John N. Gallo, a Sidley, Austin LLP partner and the JIB’s outside trial counsel, declined to comment about the complaint.
Sally Daly, a spokeswoman for the Cook County state’s attorney’s office, said in an e-mail about Santiago’s JIB matter, “We are reviewing the information, but at this time, we would not speculate on the possibility of a criminal charge so we have no comment at this time.”