* This rumor has been going around for about a week now. Here’s the Sun-Times on Monday…
The politically connected CEO of a red-light camera company under federal scrutiny insisted “we don’t pay people off,” amid new revelations that agents recently approached another village mayor and a company salesman as part of their investigation.
“There is no subpoena to SafeSpeed,” Nikki Zollar told the Chicago Sun-Times late last week in her first public remarks since federal agents fanned out across the southwest suburbs on Sept. 26, seizing records and interviewing people. […]
Zollar said she believes that a SafeSpeed “partner,” businessman and developer Omar Maani, appears to be cooperating with the government, as do other sources familiar with the probe. […]
Her company is “trying to find out what we need to do to distance ourselves from him.”
“Our partner has run amok in some way,” Zollar said.
* Sun-Times yesterday…
An upscale cigar shop and lounge in southwest suburban Countryside is proving to be an intriguing — and, until now, little-known — link to political players involved in an ongoing federal corruption investigation that saw agents swoop into Chicago and the southwest suburbs over the last two weeks, seizing records and interviewing public officials.
The business, Casa De Montecristo, offers choice cigars for sale, a living room-type space to unwind with a blazing fireplace where customers can puff away while watching sports on a large-screen TV and a separate “VIP room” in the basement, accessible by elevator, that offers dim-lighting, booths straight out of a Rat Pack-era nightclub, televisions and a bar for special events. Attractive women were often on hand working as servers. […]
It turns out a central figure in the corruption probe, Omar Maani of Burr Ridge, often entertained or otherwise socialized with political figures there, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned. […]
Maani was there so often, in fact, that many people — including his business partners in other endeavors — thought he owned the swanky establishment. These days some of them believe he was something else: A businessman who was secretly cooperating with federal authorities as they attempted to snare local politicians.