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Jason Grotto

Reporter

Photo of Jason Grotto

Born and raised in Chicago, ProPublica Illinois reporter Jason Grotto specializes in quantitative analysis, using databases, statistics and mapping to ferret out corruption, negligence and bad public policy. Previously, he worked as an investigative reporter for the Chicago Tribune and the Miami Herald. His most recent project exposed widespread inaccuracies and disparities in Cook County’s property tax assessment system and sparked proposed legislative changes, an investigation by the inspector general and a hearing at the County Board. He has also reported on the pension crisis in Chicago and Illinois and led a Gerald Loeb Award-winning investigation on Chicago Public Schools’ disastrous use of auction-rate securities, uncovered fraud in federal poverty programs, problems in Iraq war contracting and flaws in the Chicago Housing Authority's Plan for Transformation.

He was a 2015 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, where he studied municipal finance. Other honors include a Chicago/Midwest Emmy Award, an Investigative Reporters and Editors Award and the Society of Environmental Journalists Award. He earned a master's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri in 2000 and a bachelor's in U.S. history from the University of Oregon in 1995.

Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios’ Defeat Opens the Door to Reform

Democratic primary winner Fritz Kaegi pledged change, but delivering it won’t be easy.

Flawed Assessments Caused $2 Billion Shift in Property Taxes, Study Finds

Under Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios, assessment system shaved $1 billion from Chicago’s most expensive homes, while owners of lower-valued homes picked up the tab.

How Do We Keep Bias Out of Stories?

We stick with the facts, and several editors read every story.

Cook County’s Residential Property Tax Assessments Deeply Unfair, Independent Study Confirms

Findings that assessments were error-ridden and burdened the poor undermine Assessor Joseph Berrios’ claims that he properly valued residential property.

Sometimes, Impact Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up To Be

Claims from officials that they’re acting in response to a story need to be investigated, too.

As March Primary Nears, Study on Cook County Property Tax System Still Under Wraps

Initial mid-December deadline for review gives way to new release date: late February.

Rauner Takes Aim at State Lawmakers Who Appeal Property Taxes

But the Illinois governor's effort may have little impact on the system.

Ethics Board Fines Cook County Assessor Over Campaign Contributions

Rulings add to controversy surrounding Assessor Joseph Berrios, though Berrios’ lawyers say contribution limits are unconstitutional.

Cook County Assessor’s Old-School Politics Come With a Price for Taxpayers

As Berrios’ court fight drags on, critics and others fear patronage hurts the office’s property tax work.

Watchdog Group Calls for Reform to Cook County Assessor’s Office

Pressure continues to mount for greater transparency and oversight of the office.

Lawsuit Targets Berrios Over Unfair, Error-Riddled Assessments

Attorneys are asking a judge to force Berrios to adopt reforms and are seeking a monitor to oversee the process.

I Spent Years Reporting on Chicago’s Property Tax System. Here’s What Got Me Out of the Weeds.

Behind all the technical terms and the statistics is a story about the simple concept of fairness.

How the Cook County Assessor Failed Taxpayers

Joseph Berrios' error-ridden commercial and industrial assessments punish property owners, benefit lawyers.

How We Analyzed Commercial and Industrial Property Assessments in Chicago and Cook County

An in-depth analysis of hundreds of thousands of property tax records under Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios.

Cook County Assessor: Office Cuts Make It Tough to Get Tax Bills Out On Time

Embattled assessor Joseph Berrios said he has already saved the county millions.

Cook County Assessor Faces Questions About Property Tax Inequity

After reporting showed that Cook County’s property tax assessments punish the poor and reward the rich, Assessor Joseph Berrios is called before a public board to explain.

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