Cook County Recorder of Deed’s Will Run for Clerk

11/15/2017, noon | Updated on 11/15/2017, noon
“I am running for the Clerks position because I want to make sure that a couple things happen. At the ...
Karen Yarbrough

Cook County Recorder of Deed’s Will Run for Clerk

By: Katherine Newman

In the same election that voters reelected Karen Yarbrough to serve another four years as Cook County Recorder of Deeds (CCRD), they also voted to fold her

office into the Cook County Clerk’s responsibility. The bittersweet victory caused Yarbrough to consider her options and set her next goal, running for Cook County


The CCRD office will be consolidated into the Clerks office by 2020 and Yarbrough wants to make sure her progress in the recorders office doesn’t fall by the wayside.

“I am running for the Clerks position because I want to make sure that a couple things happen. At the top of our list is cyber security and making sure peoples’ voting records, peoples vital records, and land records are kept safe,” said Yarbrough.

For nearly five years, Yarbrough has been the CCRD. During that time she has beefed up the fraud department, increased the number of DD-214 military discharge papers that have been recorded and filed for veterans, and held around 500 workshops across Cook County to educate people on how to protect their own

interests, specifically the deeds to their homes.

“You can't depend on government for everything and depending on what day of the week and what clerk you get, you may or may not get the right information. If you teach people how to and where to look for what they need, they can be their own advocate and that’s what I’ve tried to do here in the recorder's office,” said Yarbrough.

In a recent press release, Yarbrough warned the county of a company using the name of her office to sell fraud protection that is already offered for free. She has officially asked the company to cease and desist from using the CCRD name to defraud county residents.

“Every week, my Property Fraud Unit is helping people get their homes back, or invalidating fraudulent recordings,” she said in a press release. Because home deed’s are public record, she sees many instances of property fraud that have the potential of causing people to lose their homes.

“These culprits are out here stealing peoples homes. We call it paper terrorism because it’s really just done on paper. But let’s face it, at the end of the day that’s what you look to and that’s the proof of who owns what,” said Yarbrough.

Increasing the number of veterans having their DD-214s recorded was also at the top of Yarbrough’s to-do list upon taking office. When she took office they were recording one or two a month, today, the office is recording anywhere from 15-20 a week, according to Yarbrough.

“Those documents are so very important. They are important to the veterans’ family and they are important to the veteran,” said Yarbrough. DD-214’s are not automatically recorded upon discharge and it can sometimes take over a month to

request a replacement of these documents. This can cause a delay in services or a loss of military funeral honors.

“We record it for free and give them a free certified copy and they can always have access,” said Yarbrough. These are the government services that Yarbrough

doesn’t want Cook County to lose.

While she didn’t agree with the decision to dissolve the CCRD’s office, she is hoping to land on her feet and continue serving the county as Clerk where she

will maintain her theme of accuracy, efficiency, and advocacy.