Ex-Cook County Commissioner Jeff Tobolski pleads guilty in political corruption case

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Ex-Cook County Commissioner Jeff Tobolski pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in Chicago to committing extortion and filing a false tax return.

Tobolski admitted to taking part in an extortion scheme involving a McCook police officer, a restaurant owner and Tobolski’s role as McCook liquor commissioner, where he also served as mayor. Prosecutors said he “also engaged in other acts of extortion and bribery” as a Cook County commissioner. He is cooperating with investigators, according to his plea agreement.

Tobolski did not attend court in person, due to the pandemic, but appeared via a video feed from a conference room at his lawyer’s office.

Federal prosecutors filed the long-anticipated criminal charges against Tobolski last month, accusing him of a conspiracy to commit extortion. They also accused him of filing a false income tax return for the year 2018. They said he claimed his income was $214,270 when he “knew that the total income substantially exceeded that amount.”

The conspiracy charge alleged that Tobolski conspired with an unnamed “McCook Official A” to extort money from an unnamed “Individual A.”

Tobolski resigned in March from his posts on the Cook County Board and in McCook, where he’d been mayor, months after federal agents searched his offices at McCook’s Village Hall. Agents also seized $55,205 in cash from Tobolski’s home at that time, including $51,611 taken “from within a safe,” according to records obtained by 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.”

26-Delivered

via Chicago Sun-Times

September 1, 2020 at 11:09AM

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