Southwest suburbs that feds visited use insurance broker where Madigan’s son is an exec
Alliant/Mesirow Insurance Services and company executive Andrew Madigan add an intriguing link to people federal authorities appear to be interested in.
Several southwest suburbs that federal agents recently visited as part of a wide-ranging corruption investigation have been using an insurance company that employs Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s son.
Alliant/Mesirow Insurance Services and company executive Andrew Madigan — neither of which has been accused of any crime — add an intriguing link to people federal authorities appear to be interested in.
Among them: Cook County Commissioner Jeff Tobolski, who doubles as the mayor of McCook and whose office was raided Sept. 26. McCook village records show Tobolski invited Andrew Madigan in 2011 “to submit a proposal” to help secure liability coverage.
“Due to the sensitive nature of insurance, I have been very cautious about switching our program in the past,” Tobolski wrote. “However, I trust that you will be direct with the Village regarding our insurance options and potential cost savings and would like you to assist the Village.”
A year later, Tobolski wrote to the underwriting branch of another insurance firm to say the village had hired Alliant/Mesirow — then called Mesirow — as its “exclusive insurance brokers” for property, general liability and auto insurance, records show.
Also in McCook, Alliant/Mesirow was involved in securing insurance for “The Max” — the municipal sports complex that was listed in a search warrant and which federal agents have asked about, according to records and interviews.
Tobolski’s wife Cathleen is her husband’s campaign treasurer and a McCook employee who helps run The Max. She was involved in insurance discussions with Andrew Madigan and his company, village records show.
Sources say Jeff Tobolski, who hasn’t been charged with any crime, is a target of the federal investigation and that authorities have questioned people about whether he solicited money from vendors or contractors at The Max.
Investigators also want to know whether Tobolski benefited personally when Cook County government helped Presidio Capital LLC get millions in taxpayer money to build low-income townhomes in Summit and Cicero, according to a source with knowledge of the investigation.
Presidio is run by Burr Ridge resident Omar Maani, an investor in Chicago-based SafeSpeed, LLC, a red-light camera contractor that employs Patrick Doherty, Tobolski’s county chief of staff, as a sales representative.
Tobolski, Doherty and Maani couldn’t be reached.
The same day as the McCook raid, Lyons village hall and Getty Insurance Agency, run by Lyons Mayor Chris Getty, also got visits from federal agents.
Lyons uses Alliant/Mesirow as an insurance broker, according to Lyons Village Manager Tom Sheahan.
Sheahan’s nephew Patrick — a son of Michael Sheahan, the former Cook County sheriff and 19th Ward alderman — and cousin Michael Mackey work with Andrew Madigan at Alliant/Mesirow.
Sheahan said neither Andrew Madigan nor Sheahan’s relatives are involved “that I’m aware of” in the brokerage work for Lyons.
Sheahan said he doesn’t “select the insurer” but reviews contracts and coverage.
The village of Schiller Park has used Alliant/Mesirow for, among other things, securing health coverage for employees, according to records from that suburb, which got a federal subpoena regarding a lobbying contract with former Chicago Ald. Mike Zalewski, a longtime political ally of Michael Madigan.
Andrew Madigan was a point of contact with Schiller Park at times, email records show.
Summit also uses Alliant/Mesirow as an insurance broker.
Summit’s village hall also was visited the same day as Lyons and McCook. Summit Mayor Sergio Rodriguez was questioned about SafeSpeed, among other things.
When Mesirow Financial — which sold its insurance arm to Alliant Insurance Services in July 2016 but retains a “small, minority interest” — built itself a skyscraper at 353 N. Clark St. a decade ago, the company hired the speaker’s law firm, Madigan & Getzendanner. It convinced then-Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios to lower the building’s assessment, which saved the company more than $1.7 million in property taxes, the Sun-Times reported five years ago. Michael Madigan argued that the building wasn’t profitable because of “generous rent abatements” Mesirow gave tenants to move there.
Andrew Madigan started working at Mesirow as an intern in 2008.
Earlier this year, the Sun-Times reported a federal affidavit showed the FBI had secretly recorded a conversation in Michael Madigan’s law office in August 2014, when he was meeting with then-Ald. Danny Solis, an unidentified Chinese businessman and See Wong, a developer who’d been wearing a wire. It picked up their conversation about building a hotel on state-owned land in Chinatown. Michael Madigan was pitching his law firm’s property tax appeal business to the Chinese businessman.
The FBI affidavit led Solis to cooperate with authorities and secretly record thousands of conversations. That led to the corruption indictment earlier this year of Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th).