Suburban businessman facing federal charges for paying off ex-state Sen. Martin Sandoval

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Dirksen Federal Courthouse
Vahooman “Shadow” Mirkhaef is accused by federal prosecutors of conspiring to make sure IDOT expedited the sale of property near Mirkhaef’s company. | Sun-Times file photo

Vahooman “Shadow” Mirkhaef is accused of paying state Sen. Martin Sandoval $65,000 for his influence over IDOT in the sale of a property.

A suburban businessman has been accused by federal prosecutors of paying off former state Sen. Martin Sandoval so he could influence the Illinois Department of Transportation to approve the sale of a property near Mirkhaef’s company.

Vahooman “Shadow” Mirkhaef allegedly conspired with Sandoval and another person identified in the filing as “Individual A” to make sure IDOT expedited the sale of the property and didn’t stop the sale, according to federal charges released Friday evening.

Mirkhaef allegedly forwarded to Sandoval a string of emails Mirkhaef had exchanged with the transportation department so the senator could use that information to sway certain officials. Sandoval met with IDOT officials on June 28, 2018 — eight days after he received those emails.

On August 2, 2018, Mirkhaef agreed to pay Sandoval $25,000 to exert his influence over IDOT. The businessman is accused of paying Sandoval two more times through January 2019 — payments that added up to as much as $65,000.

Mirkhaef — who operates a “multi-faceted depot and repair facility” in McCook — worked closely with Individual A, who arranged meetings for the two men and encouraged the suburban businessman to pay Sandoval more money.

In December 2018, according to prosecutors, Sandoval visited Mirkhaef’s office to confirm another payment to him was coming. Sandoval got the money a month later.

Martin Sandoval walks out of the Everett M. Dirksen Federal Courthouse after his arraignment hearing, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, in Chicago. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times
Martin Sandoval walks out of the Everett M. Dirksen Federal Courthouse after his arraignment hearing in January 2020.

Sandoval, who died of coronavirus last year, was a key figure in a federal public corruption investigation. He admitted to raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes.

Mirkhaef’s relationship with Sandoval was well documented; he was named in a 2019 search warrant for Sandoval’s offices at the Illinois State Capitol.

A message seeking comment from Mirkhaef was left at his business, Cub Terminal, but was not returned.

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November 5, 2021 at 07:18PM

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