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.