Lock up Ald. Brookins’ former chief of staff for 15 months, feds say

SHARE Lock up Ald. Brookins’ former chief of staff for 15 months, feds say

Curtis V. Thompson, Jr. pleaded guilty for taking a bribe at the Dirksen Federal Building on December 4, 2014. Thompson was Alderman Howard Brooking’s chief of staff. | Al Podgorski/Sun-Times Media

The red envelope Ald. Howard Brookins’ former chief of staff Curtis V. Thompson quietly pocketed at a Christmas party in December 2013 contained $7,500.

But prosecutors on Wednesday put a different price on the cash bribe: 15 months in federal prison.

That’s what the U.S. attorney’s office says Thompson, 64, deserves for giving Chicagoans “one more reason to give into the cynicism of a ‘Where’s mine?’ political culture.”

Arrested in March last year, Thompson pleaded guilty in December, admitting he’d taken the bribe from a federal mole to arrange a letter of support from Brookins for a liquor license.

Brookins — who faces a runoff election to retain his 21st Ward seat on April 7 — was not charged and has denied any wrongdoing. But court papers in Thompson’s case allege that after the federal mole handed Brookins a note offering a $12,000 bribe in return for a letter, the alderman said that he’d like to support him and would get back to him with a decision.


Ald. Howard Brookins | (Sun-Times file photo/Brian Jackson)

And Thompson did later provide the mole with a letter signed in the name of Brookins, who chairs the City Council’s black caucus.

“Thank you,” Thompson said when he received the bribe, the feds say. ” I really appreciate you, brother. I got you back.”

Thompson’s lawyers have yet to respond to the government’s request for a 15-month sentence. He is due to be sentenced March 17.

The Latest
Friend says actor died at his home in Beverly Hills, California, after contracting hepatitis.
“Having an opportunity to make an impact, whatever that role may be, I’m looking forward to it. I have that starting role right now, but I’m taking it game by game.”
With more than 99% of votes counted, unofficial results showed Recep Tayyip Erdogan with 52% of the vote, compared with 48% for his challenger, Kemal Kilicdaroglu.