Illinois senator quits committee post amid probe

Chicago News USA

Updated 1:56 pm PDT, Friday, October 11, 2019

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Latest on a federal investigation into Illinois state Sen. Martin Sandoval (all times local):

3:30 p.m.

An appointee of Illinois Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker has stepped down from the Illinois Tollway board after he was mentioned as part of a federal investigation into a state senator.

Cesar Santoy resigned Friday at Pritzker’s request after an unredacted search warrant released Friday indicated that authorities sought information involving Santoy and his architectural firm Studio Arq. The warrant was used in a Sept. 24 raid of offices belonging to Chicago Democratic state Sen. Martin Sandoval. It sought information from numerous individuals and companies dealing in asphalt, gambling, traffic enforcement and more.

Santoy’s attorney, Brendan Shiller, says federal officials have told Santoy neither he nor his company are a target of the investigation. Shiller says authorities sought “certain communications,” which Santoy supplied. He would not elaborate.

Shiller says Santoy resigned “out of immense respect” for Pritzker.

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2:30 p.m.

A red-light camera-enforcement company named in a federal search warrant last month says it conducts business “ethically and with integrity.”

The warrant used in a Sept. 24 raid of offices belonging to Illinois state Sen. Martin Sandoval indicates the FBI was seeking items related to numerous politicians, lobbyists and companies including SafeSpeed. SafeSpeed provides red-light camera systems for communities throughout the Chicago area.

SafeSpeed spokesman Dennis Culloton i says the company’s culture is based on safety and cooperation with law enforcement. He says, “As a company, we do not tolerate wrongdoing or public corruption and we support efforts to root it out.”

Sandoval has not been charged with wrongdoing. The Chicago Democrat resigned Friday as chairman of the Transportation Committee.

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1:30 p.m.

An Illinois state senator has resigned his post as head of the chamber’s Transportation Committee amid a federal investigation into alleged bribery, theft of federal funds and fraud.

Sen. Martin Sandoval submitted a letter to the Senate Friday saying he is stepping down as chairman of that committee.

Sandoval has been under pressure to quit the committee since a Sept. 24 FBI raid on his offices. An unredacted search warrant released Friday by the Senate indicates the U.S. attorney in Springfield sought items related to several politicians, gambling and construction companies, and any “official action taken in exchange for a benefit.”

The Chicago Democrat will relinquish a $10,570 stipend he received as a committee chairman. He’ll continue to receive his $69,460 legislative salary.

The resignation letter did not give a reason for his decision.

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11:55 a.m.

A search warrant shows that federal authorities who raided offices belonging to state Sen. Martin Sandoval last month were seeking information on ComEd and its parent company Exelon, a Cook County commissioner, a red-light enforcement company and more.

The unredacted search warrant from the U.S. attorney’s office in Springfield was released by the Illinois Senate Friday.

The warrant seeks items related to Cook County Commissioner Jeffrey Tobolski and a staff member; SafeSpeed, which provides red-light enforcement cameras in the Chicago region; Gold Rush Amusements, a video gambling company; asphalt road contractor Michael Vondra and others.

FBI and other agents raided Sandoval’s offices Sept. 24.

Exelon revealed in a federal filing Thursday that it is cooperating. Messages left for Sandoval, Tobolski, SafeSpeed, Gold Rush and Vondra were not immediately returned.

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