Seven More Indicted in Chicago Water Dept. Truck Probe

Chicago’s Department of Water operated as a "racketeering enterprise,'' bringing in more than $500,000 through a decade’s worth of bribes, a federal grand jury charged Thursday.

Former First Deputy Water Management Commissioner Donald Tomczak, his former subordinate Gerald Wesolowski, and Joseph Ignoffo, a former trucking company operator, had been previously charged in the investigation and were indicted on new charges of racketeering, fraud and bribery.

Yesterday’s indictments brings to 14 the number of defendants charged so far in the federal investigation into allegations that trucking companies who paid off city officials received preferential treatment when city hauling work was outsourced through the $38 million-a-year Hired Truck Program.

"It is alleged that jobs or promotions were promised in return for political work, that overtime was given in return for political work, and that fund-raising solicitations were organized at the Water Department," U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald stated.

Previously, it has been reported that city workers helped in the election of Tomczak's son, former Will County state's attorney. Tomczak insisted that those workers were volunteers.

Four others also were named in yesterday’s indictments. They are Roger McMahon, former director of finance and administration at the Water Management Department; Flenory Barnes Sr., a former employee of the departments of Water and Sewers; and Leroy Peters and his daughter Commelie Peters, both former operators of LR&C Truck Line.

On January 1, 2003, the city merged the old Department of Water with the Department of Sewers, creating the Water Management Department.

Source: & The Associated Press

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