Central figure in suburban red-light camera corruption probe charged by prosecutors

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Federal prosecutors on Monday charged a central figure in their ongoing suburban corruption probe involving a politically connected red-light camera company.

Omar Maani is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery, court records show. Maani, who lives in Burr Ridge, was a partner in the red-light camera firm, SafeSpeed, and is believed to be cooperating with federal authorities.

As has been the case in many public corruption prosecutions recently, the feds charged Maani in a document known as an information, which typically signals a defendant intends to plead guilty.

Though SafeSpeed itself has denied wrongdoing, Maani is just the latest in a series of political figures to face charges in connection with the firm. In January, former state Sen. Martin Sandoval admitted he pocketed thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from SafeSpeed while blocking legislation that would have been bad for its business.

In early August, Crestwood Mayor Louis Presta was also charged, accused of bribery and lying about whether he took an envelope stuffed with $5,000 cash during a March 2018 meeting with a SafeSpeed representative.

But the charges filed Monday against Maani most directly relate to a seven-page indictment filed in February against Patrick Doherty, the onetime chief of staff to Cook County Commissioner Jeffrey Tobolski.

Tobolski also faces corruption charges and is set to be arraigned in his own case Tuesday.

Doherty also worked as a paid consultant for SafeSpeed LLC. His indictment alleged that he conspired in 2017 with others to pay off a relative of an Oak Lawn trustee to support the installation of additional cameras there.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

26-Delivered

via Chicago Sun-Times

August 31, 2020 at 04:05PM

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