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Perhaps now inoperative: “We did everything legit and clean here”

Friday, Jan 17, 2020

* Tina Sfondeles, Jon Seidel and Robert Herguth about two weeks ago

[Federal agents’ seized a whopping $60,000 in cash from [Oakbrook Terrace Mayor Tony Ragucci’s] west suburban home late last year, the [federal] document shows, though it does not indicate whether he’s being eyed as part of the same political corruption investigation that’s been rocking local governments.

Ragucci couldn’t be reached for comment on Thursday, but in November he was asked by the Chicago Sun-Times whether he or his community has drawn scrutiny from federal agents because of the town’s use of the company SafeSpeed to operate red-light cameras.

SafeSpeed is a focus of the ongoing federal investigation, with agents looking into whether company representatives landed deals through payoffs. The company was the subject of a 2017 Chicago Tribune story about the controversial push to install SafeSpeed cameras in the town, and the questionable efforts of then-state Sen. Martin Sandoval to go to bat for the firm.

“That was all done legit,” Ragucci told the Sun-Times of the SafeSpeed contract. “We did everything legit and clean here.”

* Tribune today

Oakbrook Terrace Mayor Tony Ragucci recently paid $30,000 from his campaign fund to a lawyer representing him amid an ongoing federal corruption probe, according to campaign finance records and sources. […]

On Tuesday evening, Ragucci was a no-show at the monthly City Council meeting that he typically presides over. A clerk told a Tribune reporter that the mayor had been at City Hall earlier in the day but was not feeling well. […]

There are indications, however, that Ragucci is not planning on running again. Earlier this month, he filed an amendment changing his campaign committee’s status from a candidate-supporting fund to an “independent expenditure committee,” according to state election records.

The amended committee now states its purpose as simply to “Promote Good Government,” according to the filing.

Um, there are no limits on campaign contribution made to independent expenditure committees. Looks like he might be preparing an uncapped legal defense fund.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

13 Comments
  1. - Steve - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 12:58 pm:

    The Federal Reserve’s artificially low interest rates are causing many people to keep cash at home. At least it sounds good when questioned…


  2. - Donnie Elgin - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 1:02 pm:

    These aren’t the droids you’re looking for


  3. - Keyrock - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 1:03 pm:

    From the title, I thought, after Rizzo’s comments yesterday, this was going to be about a Cubs cheating scandal.

    Oh, well. The Sox will win plenty in 2020.


  4. - Capitol Text - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 1:13 pm:

    Ragucci and Tobolski will both win re-election as Mayor in 2021, unless they have pleaded guilty before then and are thus barred by state law.


  5. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 1:17 pm:

    “See, the hardest thing for me was leaving the life. I still love the life. And we were treated like movie stars with elected titles. We had it all, just for the asking. Our wives, mothers, kids, everybody rode along. I had paper bags filled with cigars and tobacco stuff stashed in the kitchen. I had a sugar bowl full of red light camera checks next to the bed. Anything I wanted was a phone call away. The keys to a dozen parking meters all over the city. I’d RFP twenty, thirty grand over a town meeting, and then I’d either blow the bonus in a week or go to the town to allow more cameras. Didn’t matter. It didn’t mean anything. When I was broke I would go out and try to sell some more. We ran everything. We tried to get the cops to say they were needed. We got lawyers to say they were legal. We even got some judges thinking it was for safety. Everybody had their hands out. Everything was for the taking. And now it’s all over.”

    - Folks under scrutiny, maybe.


  6. - City Zen - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 1:17 pm:

    Can’t see his name and not think “The Gooch.”


  7. - Jocko - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 1:19 pm:

    ==The Federal Reserve’s artificially low interest rates==

    Either that or, as a method actor, he was trying to get into character for an upcoming role as Kingpin on ‘Chicago PD’


  8. - Ok - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 1:24 pm:

    I particularly like the “I don’t want to subject myself to negative interest rates” defense…


  9. - City Zen - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 1:25 pm:

    I will add those red light cameras in Oakbrook Terrace might be the most egregious placement I’ve seen. Pedestrian safety is moot because there are no crosswalks at that intersection, and there are no crosswalks because there are no sidewalks.


  10. - Former Candidate on the Ballot - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 2:00 pm:

    As a reminder - State Senator Tom Cullerton also “went to bat” for OBT with IDOT. OBT is in his district, and Mayor Ragucci endorsed Tom in the last cycle. Is it just a coincidence that Tom, Sandoval, and now Ragucci are all being looked at by the FEDS?/s


  11. - Older and Taller - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 2:04 pm:

    L-what?


  12. - The Dude Abides - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 3:31 pm:

    I mean, who doesn’t have 60K in cash laying around the house?


  13. - Ebenezer - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 3:47 pm:

    committee now states its purpose as simply to “Promote Good Government,”

    That’s good writing! /s


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