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*** UPDATED x5 *** Sandoval roundup

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2020

* I love this splash of “color” that Hannah Meisel included in her Sandoval story

The extremely thin court filing against him is one indication Sandoval has been cooperating with prosecutors. But observers are certain Sandoval has “flipped” on others who the feds are investigating.

A source who spoke to The Daily Line on the condition of anonymity said that more than once this fall, Sandoval had been spotted getting dropped off by a family member at a Chicago Dunkin’ Donuts, and from there was picked up by federal agents. Hours later, Sandoval was spotted being dropped back off at the Dunkin’ Donuts and taken home by his daughter.

* Mark Brown makes a very good point

Political allies, lobbyists, business owners — anyone who did a dirty deal with Sandoval — knows after Monday that he is not only in a position to give them up, but is required to do so under the terms of any cooperation agreement.

And that means his case should have repercussions far beyond the spare details contained in the two-count criminal information brought against him in U.S. District Court.

That document, typically used in place of an indictment when a defendant has already agreed to plead guilty, accuses Sandoval of bribery in connection with his efforts on behalf of red-light cameras and for filing a false tax return for unspecified unreported income in 2017.

But a far better picture of the damage Sandoval could do was contained in a federal search warrant served on his offices back in September, which clearly showed investigators were pursuing him for a wide range of suspected corrupt activity.


A Chicago Tribune investigation found that Sandoval directly intervened with the Illinois Department of Transportation on behalf of SafeSpeed to install a red-light camera at an Oakbrook Terrace intersection, all while receiving thousands from the company in campaign contributions.

State Representative David McSweeny (R-Barrington Hills) tried to pass legislation in 2015 that would have banned red light cameras, only to see the bill die in Springfield when Sandoval was the powerful chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee.

“I think the U.S. Attorney John Lausch is doing an outstanding job. I applaud the efforts of the FBI. I hope they keep going and we need to get to the bottom of all this – Sandoval is a good first start,” McSweeney said.

Governor JB Pritzker said the charges show how, “almost anything can be corrupted by almost anyone.”

“This kind of activity is utterly repellent, the people who are committing these crimes, people who get elected to public office and then serve their own pockets and not the interests of the people they are supposed to be representing those people need to get out of public office,” Pritzker said.

* Tribune

The charges have been widely anticipated ever since federal agents executed a high-profile search of Sandoval’s office in Springfield and his home on Chicago’s Southwest Side last September.

Three days later, the FBI and Internal Revenue Service also raided government buildings in a number of suburbs in Sandoval’s district, including Lyons and McCook. Authorities have also sought records on the towns of Cicero, Bridgeview and Summit. […]

Newly chosen Senate President Don Harmon said Monday that the Sandoval charges serve “as a reminder of the challenge we face in restoring the public’s trust and why that issue is a priority this session.”

“The searing image of federal agents toting boxes out of former Senator Sandoval’s Capitol office was an embarrassment to all of us who take public service seriously,” Harmon, D-Oak Park, said in a written statement.

* Tribune editorial

The two-page charging document doesn’t reveal much. But a Tribune investigation from September 2017 found that Sandoval pressured Illinois Department of Transportation officials to approve red-light cameras at an Oakbrook Terrace intersection that IDOT considered ineligible for the program. The intersection of Illinois Route 83 and 22nd Street was considered safe, and cameras were instead supposed to be used at crash-prone sites to slow down drivers.

But after multiple calls and pressure from Sandoval, IDOT authorized the camera installation, creating a money spigot for the village. Meanwhile, federal raids last year at the homes of several individuals connected to the camera company, SafeSpeed, turned up piles of cash. Earlier this month, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that the FBI in October had seized $60,000 from a safe in the home of Oakbrook Terrace Mayor Ragucci, although the reason for the seizure was not disclosed. Ragucci resigned abruptly this month.

* More on that town

Oakbrook Terrace is home to perhaps the most eye-popping numbers. Since installing two cameras in August 2017, the city of just over 2,000 residents has collected over $9.3 million before vendor payments. Oakbrook Terrace’s fiscal year 2019 revenue from red-light cameras was $5.4 million, far more than any other suburb. The city made more than one-third of its total revenue in fiscal year 2018 from red-light cameras, according to city budget documents. The city paid red-light company SafeSpeed LLC $1.5 million of the $3.8 million it collected from the cameras that year.

*** UPDATE 1 *** Here we go…

*** UPDATE 2 *** Whew…

*** UPDATE 3 *** More from the courtroom…

*** UPDATE 4 *** Revealing slip of the tongue?…

*** UPDATE 5 *** It’s the end, but it’s also the beginning…

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Ron Burgundy - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 9:48 am:

    Well that certainly puts a whole new spin on “time to make the donuts.”

  2. - Kaskaskia - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 9:49 am:

    The end is nigh upon He.

  3. - Lucky Pierre - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 9:51 am:

    There are a lot of Political allies, lobbyists and business owners involved in a 45 billion dollar capital bill Senator Sandoval spearheaded.

    Looks like it’s time to make a lot more donuts, this could take a while

  4. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 9:53 am:

    Operation Jelly Donuts

  5. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 9:59 am:

    === There are a lot of Political allies, lobbyists and business owners involved in a 45 billion dollar capital bill Senator Sandoval spearheaded.===

    Narrator: The bill was bipartisan.

  6. - Out Here In The Middle - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 10:03 am:

    ==The city made more than one-third of its total revenue in fiscal year 2018 from red-light cameras, according to city budget documents==

    Just applying new technology to old fashioned speed traps . . . . .

  7. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 10:06 am:

    It’s just Dunkin’ nowadays

  8. - Ares - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 10:13 am:

    Throw ‘em under the bus

  9. - Lucky Pierre - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 10:19 am:

    Narrator: So far the indictments and wiretaps have just been Democrats

  10. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 10:21 am:

    ===Narrator: So far the indictments and wiretaps have just been Democrats===

    Narrator: SafeSpeed’s CEO is a longtime prominent Republican.

  11. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 10:26 am:

    === SafeSpeed’s CEO is a longtime prominent Republican===

    This is the trap I’ve been passively warning about.

    It ridiculous to say things are wide spread and then ignore the CEO of SafeSpeed in that… wide spread… ness.

    Deciding or taking a partisan tact in these investigations, but very pointed and specifically to the red light cameras, you are opening yourself up to partisan egg on the face until this all shakes out, and all the possible defendants are named.

    You can’t seem knowledgeable to things none of us know how it will play out, partisan wise too.

  12. - John Kass Fan Club - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 10:30 am:

    She’s donated plenty of money to Democrats over the years, definitely part of the Combine.

  13. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 10:34 am:

    ===… donated plenty of money to Democrats over the years, definitely part of the Combine.===

    So did Rauner before becoming governor.

    What’s your point?

    “John Kass Fan Club”

    Ah, got it, lol

  14. - Amalia - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 10:34 am:

    wonder to whom Sandoval tithes?

  15. - Rich Hill - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 10:39 am:

    I for one am disappointed that the investigation into the Burke/Sandoval/etc. scandal is not named Operation Takeout. Operation Fourth Meal would also work.

  16. - Proud Sucker - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 11:10 am:

    How about “Operation Second Breakfast”?

  17. - Rich Hill - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 11:21 am:

    Yes, as would Operation Happy Meal.

  18. - SAP - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 11:24 am:

    Jelly Roll Sandoval

  19. - Drake Mallard - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 11:37 am:

    How about operation ” how stupid do you have to be to keep doing this stuff when everybody knows the feds are watchin”

  20. - Montrose - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 11:42 am:

    When Sandoval sees 12+ years in prison (maybe less if things go well) as the best deal he can get, you know there is a lot of ugly yet to come out.

  21. - Huh? - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 11:54 am:

    “[Indicted/convicted politician’s name here] charges serve as a reminder of the challenge we face in restoring the public’s trust and why that issue is a priority this session.”

    How many times has this or something similar has been said in the past 15 years? Blah, blah, blah.

    The lessons of the past aren’t being learned by the politicians of today.

    The forgetful politician’s motto must be “Ubi est mea.”

  22. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 12:08 pm:

    SafeSpeed is the company.

    Accidentally revealed, but revealed all the same.

  23. - Southern Skeptic - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 12:08 pm:

    “Narrator: SafeSpeed’s CEO is a longtime prominent Republican.”

    And also the spouse of the former General Counsel and current Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer of Exelon.

  24. - Pundent - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 12:13 pm:

    =SafeSpeed’s CEO is a longtime prominent Republican.=

    Corruption has, and always will be, an equal opportunity employer.

  25. - Just Me - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 12:14 pm:

    GARS should act this week to remove Sandoval’s pension benefits.

  26. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 12:16 pm:

    That 10 year sentence recommendation is serious. Sandoval won’t serve 10 years, but I don’t think the cooperation will erase all of that. Some who knows more about federal sentencing can correct me, but I could see him getting 5 years. That is pretty serious, and I’d be pretty worried if I were a target.

  27. - Chris - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 12:26 pm:

    Not impossible that the CEO is CW1, right? Perhaps extremely unlikely, but possible…

  28. - Ron Burgundy - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 12:37 pm:

    -That 10 year sentence recommendation is serious.-

    It is serious and probably takes into account all the other stuff he did that he didn’t plead to.

  29. - Pundent - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 12:45 pm:

    Burgundy is spot on. While you can work with the feds to limit the charges you plea to, you can’t limit the scope of your cooperation.

  30. - DIstant watcher - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 12:56 pm:

    Dunkin donuts? It’s worth the trip!

  31. - Paddyrollingstone - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 1:07 pm:

    Three Dimensional Checkers - you are correct. If the Guidelines end up at 121-151 months and he cooperates, it generally means that the Government will recommend a sentence of 66% of the low end of the guidelines, or 80 months. The defendant would be free to request whatever sentence he deems appropriate, including probation. I could see him getting substantially less than the Government’s recommendation but I think 60 mos (5 years) would be considered a win for the defense

    There are certain cases where the G will recommend a higher percentage than 33% but those are fairly rare and I don’t see that happening here.

  32. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 1:55 pm:

    Thanks Paddyrollingstone. I threw out 5 years as a guess because I did not know the sort of discount in the sentencing for cooperation, but I knew the recommendation would still be substantial. Yeah, I would think the standard 66% would apply here. It does not seem like he has been cooperating for long either. 80 months is a long time especially considering he is cooperating. It is definitely not slap on the wrist.

  33. - SSL - Tuesday, Jan 28, 20 @ 3:13 pm:

    Looks like Rod is going to get some company.

    Who gets top bunk?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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