* The Sun-Times interviewed Chicago’s new FBI chief Emmerson Buie…
Now Buie, the onetime youth from Englewood, will play a key role in what appears to be multiple, ongoing federal public corruption investigations that have so far led to charges against three politicians — Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th), state Sen. Thomas Cullerton and former state Rep. Luis Arroyo. Two other politicians have been outed this year as FBI cooperators. And several more appear to be in federal crosshairs.
“Public corruption has been a cornerstone of my career,” Buie told the Sun-Times Tuesday. And, he added, it “will continue to be, in the Chicago division.”
Still, Buie declined to get into the details of the aggressive work being done by the FBI in Chicago. He started his new job Oct. 15. In his second week, a federal jury convicted two Chicago police officers on corruption charges. Three days later, Arroyo was arrested on a federal bribery charge.
“The American public as well as the city of Chicago has a right that their public officials and their law enforcement officials are upholding a certain standard,” Buie said. “Therefore, as we investigate those matters, we try to do them as respectfully and professionally as possible.”
* Robert Herguth and Mark Brown…
In September 2015, shortly before Oak Lawn’s red-light cameras from SafeSpeed, LLC, went live at two busy intersections, a company official wrote the south suburb’s village manager about a new marketing campaign with the slogan: “Choose safety, stop on red.”
Soon after, SafeSpeed and Oak Lawn officials engaged in a behind-the-scenes dispute over how many red-light tickets were being issued, with the company pushing Oak Lawn for more, records and interviews show.
More tickets would bring more revenue to Oak Lawn, SafeSpeed and its commissioned sales consultants.
Leading the push for more aggressive ticketing were two former legislators from Oak Lawn: Michael Carberry and John O’Sullivan, according to records and interviews.
At the time, Carberry was on the village board, and O’Sullivan was Worth Township’s Democratic committeeman and a sales consultant for SafeSpeed who appeared to be overseeing Oak Lawn’s account.
There’s lots more to this, so go read the whole thing before commenting.
* Also by Robert Herguth and Mark Brown…
When drivers get red-light camera tickets in Matteson, a portion of their fines has been going to a recently retired deputy Chicago city aviation commissioner who’s at the center of a political corruption investigation, records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times show.
Bill Helm — a $125,000-a-year deputy aviation commissioner overseeing airfield maintenance at O’Hare Airport until he quit in August — also was a paid sales representative for SafeSpeed, LLC, while on the city payroll, the records show.
SafeSpeed paid Helm, who’d held the city aviation post since 2014, a commission on red-light tickets written in Matteson and also Glendale Heights, the records show. Glendale Heights ended its affiliation with the red-light camera operator in 2018, officials said.
Matteson and Glendale Heights officials said they hadn’t heard of Helm and were unaware he was being paid under their contracts with SafeSpeed.
Helm didn’t disclose the outside work to City Hall, as required for any “secondary employment,” a spokesman said. Nor did he inform the Chicago Board of Ethics of outside income.
* Illinois House GOP pushes once again for ‘urgent’ ethics overhauls: “We acknowledge that there’s a longer, more ongoing conversation about the culture that’s tolerated some of these ethical lapses in Springfield,” Deputy Minority Leader Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, said. “But it’s very important that we, as elected officials, acknowledge that every day the people of Illinois are waking up and seeing in the newspaper, hearing on the radio or TV, that there’s additional issues that are ethical challenges and problems that are enacted by their representatives in Springfield. We need to do something to take advantage of this opportunity to reform our laws, so … the people of Illinois have better confidence in their elected officials.”
* Firms owned by Hazel Crest woman with criminal past collected $1.8 million consulting for suburbs, even while she faced federal indictment