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Chicago Area Mayor Charged With Extortion As Feds Crack Down On Corrupt Dem Machine

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The federal authorities are on a mission to clean up Chicago. They have been slowly – it seems for years – building a case against the most powerful Dem politicians in the Chicago area.

They have already ensnared a few big shots and today they just got another one. The biggest fish are still a few indictments away but the feds have lesser politicians and powerbrokers on tape.

They wore wires on each other so it is just a matter of time before the relic that is the Chicago Democratic machine is finally torn down and the massive corruption exposed and stopped.

Today the feds charged a former Cook County Commissioner and McCook Mayor Jeffrey Tobolski for his role in an extortion plot.

From The Chicago Tribune:

Former Cook County commissioner and McCook Mayor Jeffrey Tobolski was charged in federal court Friday with conspiracy to commit extortion and filing a false tax return.

The two-count criminal information filed against Tobolski marked the latest domino to fall in a sprawling federal corruption investigation that has touched some of the Democratic Party’s key suburban political players — including Tobolski’s own chief of staff and fellow local mayor Louis Presta.

According to the bare-bones charges, Tobolski allegedly conspired with an unnamed McCook official to extort a victim identified only as Individual A by using “actual and threatened fear of economic harm.”

He also allegedly filed a falsified income tax return for 2018, reporting his income for that year as $214,000 when his actual income was “substantially” higher, according the the paperwork.

Defendants charged by criminal information typically intend to plead guilty.

His attorney, James Vanzant, declined to comment. An arraignment date had not been set as of Friday.

Tobolski, who resigned from the county board and from his post as McCook village president in March, could not immediately be reached for comment.

From The Chicago Sun-Times:

In their raid on Tobolski’s mayoral office in McCook — part of a broader September 2019 sweep of the southwest suburbs — agents sought items related to several individuals and businesses. They also sought items related to a Latino Night at a McCook-owned sports facility known as the Max; Chicago Cubs spring training trips; heating and air conditioning at Tobolski’s home; and benefits provided by an unnamed law firm and attorney.

Additionally, they sought “items related to any official action taken in exchange for a benefit.”

A source said the federal southwest suburban sweep was related to raids that took place days earlier on the home and offices of then-state Sen. Martin Sandoval, including his office at the state Capitol in Springfield. Among the records taken from Sandoval’s office were documents from Burke Burns & Pinelli, at the time the law firm of state Senate President Don Harmon.

A subpoena served on McCook in September 2019 also mentioned Burke Burns & Pinelli, records show.

Harmon stepped down from his law firm after succeeding John Cullerton as Senate president in January. One of Harmon’s partners said in January the firm had not been contacted about the Sandoval investigation. Harmon has suggested Sandoval had a habit of keeping files on political opponents.

Sandoval pleaded guilty in January to corruption charges and agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors. His plea agreement said he “engaged in corrupt activities with other public officials” and took more than $250,000 “in bribes as part of criminal activity that involved more than five participants.”