Capitol Fax.com - Your Illinois News Radar » *** UPDATED x1 *** Sandoval accepted more than $250,000 in bribes “to help SafeSpeed,” others, admits he “influenced IDOT officials”
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*** UPDATED x1 *** Sandoval accepted more than $250,000 in bribes “to help SafeSpeed,” others, admits he “influenced IDOT officials”

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2020

*** UPDATE *** The plea agreement is here.

[ *** End Of Update *** ]

* CBS 2 had pretty comprehensive Twitter coverage of former Sen. Martin Sandoval’s guilty plea today. From that coverage

Former Illinois State Sen. Martin Sandoval has entered U.S. District Judge Andrea Wood’s courtroom, for his arraignment this morning on federal corruption charges. U.S. Attorney John Lausch also is in the courtroom, in the front row of the gallery.

Sandoval’s attorney, Dylan Smith, says he intends to plead guilty to bribery and tax charges. […]

In addition to his possible prison sentence, Sandoval is agreeing to restitution of $72,441, divided between the IRS and the Illinois Department of Revenue. Also agreeing to repay the government $70,000 for the cost of his prosecution.

According to the plea agreement, Sandoval is expected to face a sentencing recommendation of 121 to 151 months. Plea deal also anticipates his cooperation with the feds with ongoing investigations. […]

Prosecutors have agreed to recommend a sentence below the established guidelines if Sandoval fully and truthfully cooperates with the federal investigation.

Feds say between beginning of 2016 and end of 2019, Sandoval arranged for $20K in annual campaign contributions from a red light camera firm, identified only as Company A in exchange for his opposition to legislation to ban cameras, and to get IDOT to authorize additional cameras.

Sandoval later agreed to split up those payments to “just kind of make it not obvious.” Unbeknownst to Sandoval, the person he was talking to was cooperating with the feds.

Sandoval also arranged for $5,000 monthly payments in exchange for acting as Company A’s “protector” in the Senate, saying would “go balls to the wall for anything you ask me.” In total, feds say he accepted more than $250,000 in bribes.

Sandoval admits “I accepted money in exchange for the use of my office as a state senator to help SafeSpeed, or Company A.” That’s the fist time the company has been named, and it’s not clear if Sandoval meant to let the name slip.

Sandoval also admits he “influenced IDOT officials who were authorized to roll out the red light camera program.”

Feds say Sandoval also under-reported his income on federal tax returns from 2012 through 2016.

Judge says she’s satisfied with the explanation of facts of the case. Sandoval’s attorney also says he’s satisfied, so asks Sandoval for his plea on both counts.

“I plead guilty, your honor” Sandoval says for both counts.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys not ready to set a sentencing date yet, so Sandoval will be back in court for a status hearing on July 21, to schedule sentencing matters.

Sandoval will be released on unsecured $10,000 bond pending sentencing, and may not leave Illinois without court permission, possess a gun, or use or possess any drugs other than prescribed medication.

…Adding… From the US Attorney…

Sandoval admitted in the plea agreement that he solicited and accepted financial and other benefits from an individual affiliated with a Chicago-area red-light camera company, in return for Sandoval using his official position as a state senator to block legislation harmful to the red-light-camera industry. Sandoval also admitted that he engaged in corrupt activities with other public officials and accepted money from other individuals in return for using his official position to attempt to benefit those individuals and their business interests. Sandoval admitted accepting more than $250,000 in bribes as part of criminal activity that involved more than five participants.

In addition to the bribery, Sandoval admitted that he willfully caused his accountant to file income tax returns that Sandoval knew underreported his income for the calendar years 2012 through 2017. Sandoval admitted in the plea agreement that his tax offenses caused a total loss to the IRS of at least $72,441, and a loss to the Illinois Department of Revenue of at least $13,384.38, which he has agreed to pay.

“(E)ngaged in corrupt activities with other public officials,” eh? And the criminal activity involved “more than five participants”? Hmm.

…Adding… Oh this does not look good for the president of SafeSpeed. From the plea agreement…

On or about August 16, 2017, SANDOVAL spoke by phone with CW-1. During the call, SANDOVAL discussed splitting up Company A’s annual campaign contribution to SANDOVAL into smaller amounts. CW-1 told SANDOVAL that CW- 1 had provided half of Company A’s annual campaign contribution, and SANDOVAL said it was not a problem for Company A’s President to break up the annual contribution into two contributions because CW-1 said Company A’s President did not want the contribution to “shout out,” meaning raise a red flag

…Adding… This sounds like Sandoval got a piece of the fabulously successful Oakbrook Terrace red-light cam (or maybe he was just saying he helped them get the red light cam and didn’t receive any cash. It’s not totally clear as I look at it again)…

During the meeting, SANDOVAL discussed receiving payment for his official support of Company A. SANDOVAL asked, “Can I bring up something personal with you?… You’ve been good to me, politically. But I’ve learned that there are people who helped [Company A] who get a monthly, um…” CW-1 interjected, “Consulting fee, sales-consulting fee.” SANDOVAL continued, “When they have helped with the sighting of a camera…. On a monthly basis, infinitum.” CW-1 responded, “100%. They get a percentage of the revenue that is brought in by specific community.” SANDOVAL said, “Like I did in Oakbrook [Terrace].”

…Adding… “I usually say”? So, apparently this was a thing with him…

SANDOVAL discussed being paid to act as Company A’s “protector” in the Illinois Senate. When discussing the amount of the payment he would receive, Sandoval said, “I usually say, ‘What’s reasonable? You tell me.’”

…Adding… According to the plea deal, Sandoval admitted taking “$70,000 in protection money” from a SafeSpeed cooperating witness and $250,000 overall from various sources.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

36 Comments
  1. - Just Me - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 12:21 pm:

    His GARS pension needs to be taken away immediately. He’ll get his contributions back which will make for a decent lump sum (taxable) payment.


  2. - Ok - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 12:30 pm:

    Accepted more than $250,000 in bribes just from SafeSpeed?


  3. - Chris - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 12:32 pm:

    “a loss to the Illinois Department of Revenue of at least $13,384.38″

    Either the amounts were quite a bit higher in 2012/13/14, or it was closer to $300k, than $250k.


  4. - Ok - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 12:32 pm:

    Five participants I believe must include:
    - sandoval
    - safespeed
    - this cooperating witness
    - Ragucci (Oak Brook Terrace Mayor)
    - Tobolski

    So more than 5 would include unknowns at this point.


  5. - Blue Dog Dem - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 12:34 pm:

    This is why I say, free Blago.


  6. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 12:35 pm:

    The $250K is the shot… mighty nice “payday”, but the chaser is 5 (or probably? more) individuals are also part of this criminality.

    Sandoval complained about others getting paid as he did the work.

    Imagine the dollars if Sandoval is complaining about his take and the work.


  7. - Hard D - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 12:35 pm:

    Ok- CW has to be Omar Mani.


  8. - Donnie Elgin - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 12:37 pm:

    New Senate office defined today… “protector” in the Senate.


  9. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 12:37 pm:

    ===free Blago.===

    Someone could end up breaking his 14 years record.


  10. - Sox Fan - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 12:38 pm:

    Wouldn’t the more than five public officials include mayors and trustees from the various communities?


  11. - Trevor - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 12:42 pm:

    Time to make the donuts.


  12. - don the legend - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 12:43 pm:

    As Sandoval is led away, all I can hear is Marge Gunderson saying “…… And for what? For a little bit of money.”


  13. - lakeside - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 12:43 pm:

    ==“just kind of make it not obvious.”==

    When one sets out on to do crimes, one never stops to think that they might be terrible at criming.


  14. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 12:45 pm:

    Forget the progressive income tax. They could pay down the backlog if legislators just paid taxes on their bribes. /s


  15. - Jocko - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 1:00 pm:

    Apparently Sandoval & friends never got around to watching season two of ‘The Wire’.


  16. - ZC - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 1:03 pm:

    I can’t shake the time Sandoval came to my class and told me and my students, that he and his constituents were “Grabowskis.”

    Takes on a new connotation now.


  17. - Donnie Elgin - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 1:04 pm:

    Sandoval was quite avaricious. Senate salary,
    $250K in bribes and side gigs as translator.

    “Municipalities in the legislative district represented by state Sen. Martin Sandoval (D-Chicago) have paid him on the side for translation and public relations works, but trying to get them to release details of just what he did for them and how much he was paid has been futile”

    https://westcooknews.com/stories/514201684-municipalities-that-retained-sandoval-for-side-work-having-trouble-finding-payment-records


  18. - NoGifts - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 1:07 pm:

    And they forgot that it was only 4 years ago that John Bills from Chicago Department of Transportation got 10 years for the same thing.


  19. - Dem were da days - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 1:09 pm:

    This ain’t your grandfather’s mob no more. Times have changed. Or has/will it ;-)


  20. - DuPage Saint - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 1:09 pm:

    So the person he took bribe money from was also wired? Funny. I wonder how many people took bribes from that wired briber?


  21. - CCapilla - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 1:22 pm:

    Last one to the federally sponsored confessional gets a RICO?


  22. - Candy Dogood - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 1:25 pm:

    The best part of when a bribe becomes public is the folks that had — also — received bribes that may yet to be indicted get to find out how much cheaper they were than the convicted felon that just plead guilty.


  23. - Candy Dogood - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 1:28 pm:

    ===This is why I say, free Blago.===

    That’s really the wrong message to send right now.

    You’ve got these public officials that were betraying the people of Illinois who are willing to cooperate against their co-conspirators and sending a message that someone who refuses to cooperate should get leniency is not a good precedent to establish.


  24. - Been There - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 1:30 pm:

    === His GARS pension needs to be taken away immediately. He’ll get his contributions back which will make for a decent lump sum (taxable) payment===
    Not that it’s that important but he can put off the tax bill by rolling his contributions into an IRA. But I’m guessing he’s is going to need some it for his attorney fees.


  25. - Unionman - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 1:34 pm:

    How much does the state now save in his pension which he has now forfeited.


  26. - McKinley Bob - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 1:40 pm:

    Putting a whole new twist to “The Year of the Rat”


  27. - XonXoff - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 1:41 pm:

    == Sandoval also arranged for $5,000 monthly payments in exchange for acting as Company A’s “protector” in the Senate, saying would “go balls to the wall for anything you ask me.” ==

    He had the anatomy right. /s


  28. - Skeptic - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 1:56 pm:

    lakeside @ 12:43 That’s perfect. I’m going to add that to my vocabulary.


  29. - I have to ask - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 2:08 pm:

    Will OEIG due their diligence and find out how many top IDOT officials were involved??


  30. - Han's Solo Cup - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 2:14 pm:

    *Will OEIG due their diligence and find out how many top IDOT officials were involved??*
    If by saying he “influenced” them he means he lined their pockets, the OEIG won’t need to bother. The FBI will be knocking on their doors, if they aren’t already.


  31. - NeverPoliticallyCorrect - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 2:45 pm:

    Just sickening. And it took the feds to sniff this out? All the red light cameras should be ripped out, today.


  32. - Jose Abreu's Next Homerun - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 2:51 pm:

    Wonder if CEO of SafeSpeed will rescind this letter she sent Ms Mendoza three weeks ago, https://safespeedllc.com/safespeed-letter-to-illinois-comptroller/


  33. - bogey golfer - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 3:04 pm:

    Who was the influenced IDOT official?


  34. - Paddyrollingstone - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 3:31 pm:

    SANDOVAL discussed being paid to act as Company A’s “protector” in the Illinois Senate. When discussing the amount of the payment he would receive, Sandoval said, “I usually say, ‘What’s reasonable? You tell me.’”

    In his defense, I will say that this is how you begin a negotiation. Make the other guy start first. So at least he has that going for him.


  35. - njt - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 3:35 pm:

    This headline aged well:

    https://chicago.suntimes.com/politics/2019/10/7/20903665/we-dont-pay-people-off-ceo-red-light-camera-company-plays-defense-amid-probe


  36. - JB - Wednesday, Jan 29, 20 @ 9:54 am:

    If you check you will see that in the last month Nikki Zollar, Safespeed CEO, voluntarily put her law license on inactive status. I guess she doesn’t want to be disbarred. What a wonderful thing for the former head of the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation and who started as a law clerk in the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois


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