Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » *** UPDATED x19 *** Senate Democrats release unredacted Sandoval search warrant
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*** UPDATED x19 *** Senate Democrats release unredacted Sandoval search warrant

Friday, Oct 11, 2019 - Posted by Rich Miller

* You’ll recall that the original release of the federal search warrant served on Sen. Martin Sandoval’s (D-Chicago) Statehouse office was heavily redacted. This version isn’t.

A lawsuit was filed by WBEZ to force the release of an unredacted search warrant. I’m told the Senate Democrats have been in contact with the feds since names and locations in the warrant have appeared in public about ongoing investigations, including some folks who were raided a couple of days after Sandoval and Exelon’s disclosure this week that it had received a federal grand jury subpoena related to Sandoval.

* Anyway, click here to read it


*** UPDATE 1 *** So, apparently, this dragnet includes a video gaming company. From Gold Rush Gaming’s website

For over 40 years, Rick and Alisa Heidner have served the Chicago-land area as experienced and proven business owners. Their first endeavor together was Heidner Properties, a commercial real estate development group that owns and self-manages over 200 properties across the country. After the successful launch of the real estate firm, they began focusing on their new dream involving slots and video poker. In 2012 Gold Rush Gaming was founded and quickly became the Gold Standard in the Illinois video gaming industry. Gold Rush believes in the values of honesty and integrity, both of which are embodied by Rick and Alisa.

*** UPDATE 2 *** You may recognize John Harris’ name. He is Rod Blagojevich’s former chief of staff who now works for Mike Vondra. Tammie Zumwalt is Sen. Sandoval’s legislative assistant in Springfield and is also Sandoval’s campaign treasurer.

Also, four Exelon officials? Woof.

*** UPDATE 3 *** I think the reference above to HB 173 is actually a bill from the 99th General Assembly sponsored by Rep. David McSweeney to ban red light cameras. The measure passed the House but stalled out in the Senate.

*** UPDATE 4 *** Rick Heidner isn’t just involved in video gaming, he’s trying to own a new racino

A new horse racing track and casino proposed for Tinley Park has made it out of the starting gate. […]

The southwest suburban harness racing venture is headed by Hawthorne Race Course general manager Tim Carey and real estate developer Rick Heidner, who also runs one of the state’s largest video gambling machine companies.

Also, if it’s the same Cesar Santoy, he’s a Berwyn alderman and an architect.

Sebastian Jachymiak owns a towing company and the Technicraft Collision Repair listed in the warrant. Technicraft has contributed over $100,000 to various candidates, many of whom have been raided or otherwise connected to this.

Sergio Rodriguez is the mayor of Summit.

*** UPDATE 5 *** Cesar Santoy was appointed by Gov. Pritzker to the Illinois Toll Highway Authority in February.

The governor’s people say they’ll be issuing a statement about this.

*** UPDATE 6 *** Sebastian Jachymiak appears to be very politically connected, and at one time, at least, had ties to Speaker Madigan. Click here for some 2010 background.

*** UPDATE 7 *** Under the bus he goes…

*** UPDATE 8 *** John Kosmowski is the Summit police chief. Safespeed operates Summit’s red light cams.

Vahooman “Shadow” Mirkhaef owns Cub Terminal LLC. His companies, including Cub Terminal, have contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to political campaigns, with Sandoval being a beneficiary.

And here’s some info on Bill Helm

Their federal lawsuit charges Deputy Airport Commissioner Bill Helm is the enforcer, pushing employees to do political work, often on city time, with backup from Airport Manager Kevin Martin.

*** UPDATE 9 *** If you notice on the “receipt” page, you’ll see documents were seized from the Burke Burns law firm. Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) is a partner at that firm. I’ve asked Harmon for comment and will let you know what he says.

Kristi Bloom is listed on LinkedIn as the Executive Admin., Operations for one of Vondra’s companies, Bluff City Materials. I’m told she also helps run Sandoval’s annual golf outing.

*** UPDATE 10 *** The feds also seized documents referencing Marina Sandoval. Marina is Sen. Sandoval’s spouse.

*** UPDATE 11 *** From Sen. Don Harmon…

I have absolutely no idea to what that refers, and I’d be happy to talk to you again if something comes to light.

This is a bit weird because Sandoval is an avowed Harmon enemy.

*** UPDATE 12 *** More on Burke Burns…

*** UPDATE 13 *** I probably should’ve mentioned earlier that I wrote a column on Mike Vondra and his companies. Click here to refresh your memory.

*** UPDATE 14 *** Brian Lansu is an attorney for a Mike Vondra company named Reliable Materials and is also in-house counsel for Buona Beef. His law license was suspended for five months in 2009.

*** UPDATE 15 *** Tribune

[Illinois Toll Highway Commissioner Cesar] Santoy’s attorney, Brendan Shiller, said in a statement to the Tribune that he’s “been informed that neither Cesar nor Studio Arq is a target” of the probe.

“The government wanted some records and they were provided,” Shiller said.

*** UPDATE 16 *** Sun-Times

When reached by phone by the Chicago Sun-Times, [Rick Heidner] said he had not yet learned his name appeared on the document. He said no one had contacted him about it, and he said he had “zero clue” why his name would be there.

“Maybe it’s because, you know, I donate money politically and charitably,” Heidner said. “But I have no clue why my name would be on it at all.”

*** UPDATE 17 *** Good info from WBEZ

Records obtained by WBEZ show Sandoval’s private company, Puentes, Inc., is paid $4,200 a month by the Town of Cicero and $2,000 a month by the North Berwyn Park District, both of which lie in Sandoval’s legislative district that straddles Chicago and southwest suburbs.

The FBI reported taking “invoices and correspondence with [Monarca], agreements between [Monarca] + other entities” in addition to “documents ref. Monarca Inc. and Marina Sandoval.” […]

The feds sought information about a litany of Vondra-related business ventures and a foundation set up by Vondra and his wife, Dorothy. Also included was a request for records related to a west suburban golf course, Klein Creek Golf Club, where Sandoval has hosted numerous campaign fundraising events. […]

Also named in the search warrant was Jeff Tobolski, the Democratic Cook County commissioner and mayor of McCook. Tobolski’s office at the McCook village hall was the target of another FBI raid, two days after the search warrants were served at Sandoval’s offices.

*** UPDATE 18 *** You’ll notice that on the receipt list of item seized is this: “Flash drive with Landek written on it.”

There is a theory developing that Sandoval was creating opposition research files on both Sen. Don Harmon and Sen. Steve Landek. As mentioned above, Sandoval despises Harmon and he may have been plotting to back a certain someone against Landek in a Democratic primary. Again, it’s just a theory so far, but it would fit the Sandoval profile. Stay tuned.

*** UPDATE 19 *** ILGOP Chairman Tim Schneider…

The unredacted warrant provides another glimpse into the vast network of background players involved in the corrupt Chicago Democrat machine that runs this state. From another close Madigan ally to Pritzker’s Tollway appointee, there is virtually no level of state and local government in Cook County that is not teeming with self dealing Democrats looking to screw over taxpayers. The Illinois Democratic Party is a crime ring masquerading as a political party.


  1. - Fav Human - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 10:28 am:

    OUCH. Not like they didn’t have a bad week already…

  2. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 10:32 am:

    I guess this qualifies as a Friday news dump(?)

    Some folks may want to head out early for the weekend.

  3. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 10:35 am:

    They took shredded paper? Someone is going to have a stiff neck and bloodshot eyes at the end of the day.

  4. - ILPundit - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 10:37 am:

    Interesting that it lists all items related to HB 173, which appears to have been a House bill designed to speed up payment to small business subcontractors with IDOT.

  5. - Teddy Salad - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 10:38 am:

    They took the shredded paper because there is now a computer program that can put it back together. The Iranians came up with it. That is why you should have a cross cut shredder.

  6. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 10:39 am:

    Mirkhaef calls himself “the shadow?” It’s almost like he wanted the feds to investigate him.

  7. - Ron Burgundy - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 10:39 am:

    -Shredded Paper-

    There are software tools these days on the market that can scan and reconstruct paper shreds. Odds are the Feds have even better ones.

  8. - Just Me 2 - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 10:44 am:

    The crazy part is Cullertons excuse that we didn’t know what the investigation was about. He knew. He absolutely knew with this unredacted version. Cullerton is now a player in this corrupt embarrassment to our sorry state where corruption is in every days news cycle.

    I guess Cullerton is too busy making money off land deals with the MWRD to care.

  9. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 10:46 am:

    Note: Martin Sandoval is currently a committee chairman in the Illinois Senate.

  10. - Just Me 2 - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 10:48 am:

    Ooof. His Springfield secretary is his Treasurer? How common is that?

  11. - Red Ketcher - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 10:50 am:

    Believe Heidner is guy behind the proposed new, just IRB approved , Harness Racing Track in Tinley Park.
    Impact ?

  12. - Anton Cermak - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 10:51 am:

    Flash drive with “Landek” written on it? Also, Brian Lansu in addition to working for Mike Vondra is listed as In-House Counsel at Buona Beef on his linked in. Wonder if Tobolski kept the receipts for those birthday sandwiches?

  13. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 10:52 am:

    It’s still one heck of a nugget;

    You have CW1 mentioned prominently.

    You have IDOT Officials A, B, D, E, and F listed.

    There is no mention of IDOT Official C.

    Just an interesting nugget to me is all.

  14. - Anyone Remember - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 10:52 am:

    John Harris? The convicted criminal in the Blagojevich scandals that Federal Judge James Zagel sentenced to … 10 days?

  15. - anon - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 10:53 am:

    Was curious about reference to HB 173, and started looking at past GAs, found this related to repeal of red light cameras:

  16. - SpfdNewb - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 10:53 am:

    Ouch. This is going to affect a lot of people further down the line.

  17. - Ron Burgundy - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 10:55 am:

    -Four Exelon officials-

    That explains the independent director committee overseeing the company’s response on this. The independent directors have a duty only to the company and wanted their own advice, separate and apart from management. Clearly a concern that some individuals in management may be acting in their own interests, namely self-preservation.

  18. - Can - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 10:57 am:

    @Red Ketcher, Heidner hasn’t been accused of any wrongdoing at this point, but yes we need to keep an eye on how this impacts the new track.

  19. - ILPundit - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 10:57 am:

    Very interesting on the McSweeney bill.

  20. - Smartypants - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 11:01 am:

    Sandoval is no longer listed as transportation chairman

  21. - The Captain - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 11:04 am:

    Heidner recently showed up to one of Lightfoot’s budget town halls and pushed video gaming as a budget fix. Maybe last week, it was recent.

  22. - Bored Chairman - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 11:11 am:

    Cesar Santoy is on the Tollway Board.

  23. - Not a Billionaire - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 11:13 am:

    Since Exelon is a person can it be out in Prison or will it throw those Exelon officials and some Illinois polls under the bus.
    Perhaps same bus IDOT official C tossed the others under.
    With all the IDOT officials involved how can IDOT not be?

  24. - Ravenswood Right Winger - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 11:15 am:

    “It is a new day for the Illinois Tollway,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Our new leadership will uphold the highest ethical standards, deliver the value to taxpayers and serve Illinoisans in every corner of our state. I’m proud to usher in a new wave of transparency and accountability at this critical agency.”

  25. - Roger Abbott - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 11:16 am:

    Looks like Sandoval indeed out as Chairman of Transportation Committee. But still listed as Majority Whip, a non-paying position.

  26. - YourMove - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 11:16 am:

    Let’s see how quickly Pritzker steps in to boot his own appointee.

  27. - Rich Miller - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 11:16 am:

    ===He absolutely knew with this unredacted version===

    The SDems say Cullerton was never shown the unredacted warrant or inventory. The FOIA officer handled those documents, and only the FOIA officer, they claim. Why? It’s their standard is a firewall for things like ongoing investigations.

  28. - JennaM - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 11:16 am:

    Where is Senator Sandoval? He should make a statement by now and resign

  29. - SpfdNewb - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 11:16 am:

    Smartypants at 11:01 is right, Sen. Sandoval is listed as a member on

  30. - SAP - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 11:17 am:

    Still the Sub-Chair for the Transportation Subcommittee on Capital. Guessing that is only a matter of time.

  31. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 11:18 am:

    ===Looks like Sandoval indeed out as Chairman of Transportation Committee.===

    Until Patterson issues a statement from the President, a passive removal from the web universe isn’t going to cut it.

    Nope. No way.

  32. - Ron Burgundy - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 11:20 am:

    Expect that statement in about five hours Willy. Maybe sooner now that it is out there thanks to the IT folks.

  33. - Not a Billionaire - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 11:20 am:

    Did Sandoval have anything as a chair or leader to be involved with Exelon? This looks big and Exelon looks bigley.

  34. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 11:22 am:

    - Ron Burgundy -

    People are out of practice of doing perfectly timed news dumps…

  35. - SAP - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 11:24 am:

    ==Did Sandoval have anything as a chair or leader to be involved with Exelon?== Well, he is a member of the Public Utilities Committee.

  36. - Not a Billionaire - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 11:40 am:

    Thanks SAP . Nothing else stuck out to me except Neil Anderson has an Exelon nuclear plant son that is not surprising or really even suspicious.

  37. - Not a Billionaire - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 11:43 am:

    Update 6 the FBI has been watching the speaker for a while….

  38. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 11:46 am:

    ==The crazy part is Cullertons excuse that we didn’t know what the investigation was about. etc.== In a nutshell: Cullerton should take away this guy’s committee chairmanship.

    If you read this blog, you would know that Cullerton does not remove committee chairs; under Senate rules, he may not even be able to. They always resign.

    People complain about Madigan’s power, then they complain when another leader doesn’t have (or at least doesn’t exercise) similar power. You can’t have it both ways.

  39. - Not a Superstar - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 11:47 am:

    To the 7th update. “You’re gonna need a bigger bus.”

  40. - Chicagonk - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 12:03 pm:

    I’d recommend looking on Illinois Sunshine and searching through some of the names listed.

    Also I wonder if they are looking at the repeal of the commercial distribution fee. Getting rid of that was a pretty big win for truckers considering Sandoval had no problem trying to raise every other fee for the capital bill.

  41. - Ok - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 12:05 pm:

    Uh, Harmon? You’ve got some ’splaining to do.

  42. - Just saying - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 12:08 pm:

    Everyone knows that there is no love lost between Harmon and Sandoval.

    No way- Harmons firm is connected to Sandoval-

    They did NOT like each other

  43. - Responsa - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 12:11 pm:

    The Gov. is finding out the hard way how hard it is to get good clean help in politics these days.

  44. - Telly - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 12:17 pm:

    Doesn’t Burke-Burns do municipal law — maybe the firm represents some of the suburban towns caught in the dragnet?

  45. - TNR - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 12:20 pm:

    The Exelon piece seeks items related to “rate hikes.” An interesting bit of specificity.

  46. - Just a thought - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 12:21 pm:

    The Governor doesnt have to wait for someone who isnt confirmed to step down. He can easily remove him now.

  47. - Ok - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 12:22 pm:

    More on Harmonand Burke Burns:

    “The west suburban legislator also says he doesn’t handle the legal work that his firm gets from the government agencies, including the pension funds, he helps oversee nor from any local government he represents as a legislator. ”

    So, he does do work for local governments that he doesn’t represent. Which would include the ones discussed.

  48. - anonomoose - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 12:27 pm:

    This is B-A-D bad.

  49. - Roger Abbott - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 12:30 pm:

    =Mary Pat Burns is a partner and the Burns of Burns Burke law firm and also a judge on the illinois Court of Claims. She needs to issue a statement too. Very fishy.=

    What does the court of claims have to do with any of this? Seems like a hit job on both the firm and the judge you’ve referenced

  50. - Mr. Smith - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 12:42 pm:

    Props to the Governor. He had called for Sen. Sandoval to step down as Chairof the transportation Committee, and it appears now that he has done so.

    Santoy is an appointee who has not been confirmed yet? He can be withdrawn, though it is better form to let someone remove their own name. If he is dirty, fine. If he isn’t you can still work together later without losing face. None of this looks or smells good, but innocent until proven guilty and all that…

  51. - Junior - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 12:58 pm:

    This is so great….Burke is spilling the beans on everyone. Will it be enough to keep him from serving time?

  52. - Just Me 2 - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 1:01 pm:

    So a bill opposed by a Senate Democratic leader’s campaign contributor was DOA in the Senate. I’m shocked!

  53. - twowaystreet - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 1:02 pm:

    ==Flash drive with “Landek” written on it?==

    I believe Sandoval and Landek share the same assistant so I wouldn’t read too much into this at the moment.

  54. - twowaystreet - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 1:03 pm:

    on comment above… should have waited for update 18…

  55. - Outsider - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 1:08 pm:

    Santoy was asked to step down. Is Pritsker going to also step down over the open investigation of his 330,000 dollar property tax scandal he’s still involved in. As the IG called it a attempt to defraud

  56. - Ron Burgundy - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 1:11 pm:

    -Since Exelon is a person can it be out in Prison or will it throw those Exelon officials and some Illinois polls under the bus.-

    No. Theoretically the company could be charged but that is unlikely. Most likely is the independent board committee is cooperating and the company will escape any jeopardy if they do so and turn over documents, etc. on the dealings and the unnamed employees. If anyone is charged it would almost certainly be the employees. But yes, entities can be charged, convicted and punished, but obviously not sent to prison. They fine them, put them on probation, bar them from government contracts, etc.

  57. - Donnie Elgin - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 1:19 pm:

    “Burke is spilling the beans on everyone. Will it be enough to keep him from serving time?”

    The Fed are into big game hunting - Sandoval is small stuff.

  58. - Crazy - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 1:20 pm:

    What does court of claims have to do with any of this?


  59. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 1:40 pm:

    ===Chicago Democrat machine===

    Narrator: Bruce Rauner and his appointee Tim Schneider allowed Illinois Democrats their largest majorities ever in the Illinois State House, and there is not one statewide official that’s a Republican.

  60. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 1:44 pm:

    Tim Schneider lost his own race, no longer a member of the Cook County Board.

    ===Chicago Democrat machine===


  61. - Nagidam - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 1:46 pm:

    I take that back, the folks running in Southern Illinois that are republican get to embrace trump and paint their democrat opponent as corrupt. #EasternBloc

  62. - Father Ted - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 1:46 pm:

    Out of curiosity, what is the all-time record on updates?

  63. - Blue Dog Dem - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 1:47 pm:

    These Progressives crack me up.

  64. - RT - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 1:56 pm:

    To update 18:

    The bad blood between Sandoval and Harmon is pretty well known, but a battle with Landek? That’s a surprise. Maybe spillover from Sandoval’s problems with Madigan?

  65. - David - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 2:09 pm:

    I was being a bit hyperbolic Ron and agree with you completely on what us going on.

  66. - Amalia - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 2:11 pm:

    do we really think that Sandoval has the brains to cook something up against two of his fellow Senators? what is really going on there? or rather, should we speculate who would benefit?

  67. - Peoples Republic of Oak Park - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 2:21 pm:

    My tin foil hat theory is that the FED are trying to build a RICO as not as Speaker of the House but as Chairman of the Party. He, as a duly elected offical does have some say offer commerce in the state, yet as a head of political organization he does not.

  68. - Glengarry - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 2:33 pm:

    Not even Blago got this many updates. Whew

  69. - ILPundit - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 2:36 pm:

    Am I the only one that noted that Giovanni, in his cover letter to Rich responding to the FOIA, ended his letter by saying:

    “With kindest personal regards, I remain,

    Sincerely yours…”

    Very Madigan-esque for a Senate guy

  70. - Muddy Boots - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 2:39 pm:

    Amelia at 2:11 - I’d tread carefully when speculating about Sandoval’s brains. He may not come across as book smart but he’s very, very savvy when it comes to understanding power and political pressure points. Those skills, and the exercise thereof for what may end up being indictable offenses, are what got us here. He could easily “cook up” things on virtually anyone in Springfield, just as many, many other people in town can.

  71. - Been There - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 2:40 pm:

    ===I believe Sandoval and Landek share the same assistant so I wouldn’t read too much into this at the moment. =====
    Senators all have their own LA. They share LA’s in the House though.

  72. - Smartypants - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 2:43 pm:

    Been there 2:40 —
    While it is true Senators have their own LA’s. Landek has been without one for a year and Sandoval’s LA has been covering both Senators.

  73. - A Long Time Ago - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 2:44 pm:

    ===But yes, entities can be charged, convicted and punished, but obviously not sent to prison.===
    Yes this is true. Just ask Al

  74. - Been There - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 2:45 pm:

    ===While it is true Senators have their own LA’s. Landek has been without one for a year and Sandoval’s LA has been covering both Senators. ===
    Sorry, didn’t realize that. Pretty odd.

  75. - gone but not forgotten - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 2:51 pm:

    Hmmm … Bill Helm used to work for IDOT … also Cook County Forest Preserve District. Fired from CCFPD by Toni P., IDOT in charge of Emergency Traffic Patrol - mysteriously disappeared and just a mysteriously reappeared as Operations Manager, Central Area, which includes McCook (Stevenson Maintenance Yard, specifically) Lyons and Summit.

  76. - Fav Human - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 3:38 pm:

    “Exelon is a person can it be out in Prison ”

    Arthur Anderson was indicted and convicted, which is why they went under.

  77. - Senator Clay Davis - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 4:14 pm:

    ==Tim Schneider: “The Illinois Democratic Party is a crime ring masquerading as a political party.”==

    Great timing.

  78. - Ha - Friday, Oct 11, 19 @ 4:41 pm:

    I think I’ll wait and see where the investigation goes before taking Harmon’s word for it… Landek too

  79. - {Sigh} - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 11:08 am:

    The warrant in #8 references Associate A and Associate B … as in Vondra Associate A.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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