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Coli is cooperating with feds

Tuesday, Jul 30, 2019

…Adding… The plea agreement is here.

* Sun-Times

A onetime labor leader with ties to several prominent Illinois politicians is set to plead guilty in federal court Tuesday in a lesser-known extortion case that still threatens to reach deep into the state’s halls of power.

A federal grand jury accused Teamsters leader John T. Coli in 2017 of extorting $325,000 from Cinespace Chicago Film Studios, the clout-heavy studio that is home to such hit TV shows as “Chicago Fire” and “Empire.”

The case has quietly simmered in the background for the last few years. Since then, the Chicago Sun-Times revealed that the case against Coli was built with the help of Cinespace President Alexander S. “Alex” Pissios, who wore a wire against Coli.

Pissios told authorities that Coli had introduced him to Gov. Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayors Richard M. Daley and Rahm Emanuel, as well as Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan and Illinois Senate President John Cullerton. They all received campaign contributions from organizations under Coli’s control.

* And then a bombshell was dropped today…


- Posted by Rich Miller        

25 Comments
  1. - A guy - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:30 am:

    Looks like we may be about to play “The Name Game”.


  2. - H-W - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:34 am:

    = Pissios told authorities that Coli had introduced him to Gov. Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayors Richard M. Daley and Rahm Emanuel, as well as Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan and Illinois Senate President John Cullerton. They all received campaign contributions from organizations under Coli’s control. =

    Is there any evidence of a quid pro quo agreement, and one that is illegal, or is this simply an inference that there might be?


  3. - Alternative Logic - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:35 am:

    Let’s just say there are a number of folks praying for the strict enforcement of Rich’s “no rumors” policy…


  4. - @misterjayem - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:38 am:

    “Coli’s plea agreement calls for up to about 3 years in prison, but if he cooperates fully prosecutors will recommend only about a year and a half.”

    788,400 minutes looks like a very, very long time when you’re gonna spend it in the big house.

    – MrJM


  5. - Amalia - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:44 am:

    the studio space was financed through the State. It sure does lots of business.


  6. - Responsa - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:46 am:

    It’s a titillating tweet for sure.


  7. - Pawar Lost - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:46 am:

    The engagement ring angle is the weirdest.


  8. - Honeybear - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:49 am:

    Great news.
    Maybe now we’ll finally learn how
    Rauner though Coli
    and the Illinois Labor Relations Board
    put State workers through hell.
    The State worker Contract Impasse
    was perfidy


  9. - Roman - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:52 am:

    I agree with @Amalia. Lot’s of intrigue around the studio space.

    But, keep in mind, the feds have spent 60 years jumping in and out the the Teamsters International and various locals. There’s a chance Coli’s cooperation involves internal union corruption and not outside pols.


  10. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:53 am:

    Patricians and plebs,
    politicians and criminals,
    priests and ladies of the evening,
    Chicago.


  11. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:56 am:

    What’s the weird contribution insinuation? Like if it wasn’t for Coli, the Teamsters wouldn’t be donating to Dems in this day an age?


  12. - Ron Burgundy - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:56 am:

    G Coli infections. Much worse than E Coli and can lay you up a lot longer…


  13. - The wheel - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:59 am:

    Dodn’t Cortese represent the teamsters and cinespace?


  14. - Donnie Elgin - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 11:07 am:

    Did Monterrey Security work on any of the film projects ?


  15. - Ron Burgundy - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 11:18 am:

    May not mean much, but one of the AUSAs on this case is also involved with the Vrdolyak and Burke cases.


  16. - Anyone Remember - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 11:57 am:

    Again, Law & Order pilot “Everybody’s Favorite Bagman” (shown as Season 1, Episode 6): “You never know whose pants are going to get dropped in a corruption scandal.”


  17. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 12:40 pm:

    Heck, Coli plays this right, he might get to serve at the MCC here in town and testify for those cases then walk…


  18. - chi - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 1:02 pm:

    If DOJ is only offering to shave a year or so off his sentence, he must not have had much to give them.


  19. - Back to the Future - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 1:11 pm:

    Something is wrong with a government that gives out long sentences to minority offenders and a year and a half to this guy.
    What does a sentence like this do to present crimes like this?
    Shameful.
    DOJ wants to do jokes instead of justice they should try out for a job at Second City.


  20. - Donnie Elgin - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 1:22 pm:

    “If DOJ is only offering to shave a year or so off his sentence, he must not have had much to give them.

    At his age a year in prison is a big deal.


  21. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 1:31 pm:

    =At his age a year in prison is a big deal=

    While granting that a year in prison is a big deal at any age, and while granting that this is off topic:

    The older you are, the shorter your years seem to you. A year when you’re 70 is only 1/70th of your life. A year when you’re 20 is a bigger portion of your life; 1/20th. Based on that if you had to spend a year of your life in jail, you’d always want it to be the shortest year of your life, i.e. the last year of your life.

    And if you asked people on their deathbeds if they’d rather relive their last year of life or their 20th year of life, I’d bet most would say their 20th year.


  22. - chi - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 1:32 pm:

    that’s me yammering on at 1:31


  23. - revvedup - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 2:05 pm:

    Coli would serve 1/2 the sentence proposed if he cooperates, which is a reasonable reduction for cooperating. If the AUSA hits big-time paydirt, he can agree to modify the plea deal more in Coli’s favor. Plus Coli can earn up to 54 days good time credit per year according to the FBOP website.


  24. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 2:08 pm:

    It looks to me like Coli is cooperating now, which is why he would get the 3 years and not have to plead to extortion. It’s possible the Feds could go for a RICO charge too if they really wanted to run wide on Coli. But Coli gets the 3 years now for past cooperation and then can get the further 1 1/2 knocked off if he continues to cooperate in the future. That is how I read the agreement. I would not say that the agreement shows anything about what Coli has to offer, since the Feds could have really run wild on him and the union if they truly wanted to.


  25. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 2:21 pm:

    I might be wrong, those charges are not in the plea deal or indictment, but the Feds could always charge more, and the extortion was connected to the union. He threatened Pissios with a strike if he didn’t get his quarterly payments.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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