Tim Novak

Watchdogs reporter

Tim Novak is an investigative reporter exposing government corruption in the state of Illinois, Cook County and the city of Chicago. His stories include a four-year investigation into a homicide that led to the appointment of a special prosecutor, resulting in Mayor Daley’s nephew pleading guilty to manslaughter in 2014. A six-month investigation in 2004 brought down Daley’s Hired Truck program, in which city agencies spent $40 million on private trucking companies owned by mobsters and politically connected insiders that were often paid to do nothing. The ensuing federal investigation ended with the indictments of 49 people, including 29 city employees.

What his now-amended campaign-finance reports show is that, in some instances, “You’re telling us you deposited the money back into the campaign fund, and we see no such thing,” a state elections official says.
Jeffrey Bertucci testified in 2010 to illegally paying out winnings from video gaming machines installed in his Cicero diner and splitting his take with the mob’s so-called video poker king. In 2019, gambling regulators gave him a license to legally operate video gaming devices.
Brian Fong is cooperating with prosecutors. Fifteen bank officials, workers and borrowers have been charged, and a Daley family member was convicted of cheating on his taxes in a related case.
In 2021, the state agency proposed stripping the lucrative video gaming license held by Frank Cortese’s company. Nearly two years later, with no ruling yet, he’s still in business.
An appeals court ruled that Trump International Hotel & Tower was overvalued by Cook County officials a dozen years ago. The Chicago Public Schools stands to lose the most money — about $540,000.
The lawyer and bar owner who holds the liquor license for Lollapalooza violated lobbying rules when he asked a City Hall official to help secure business licenses to operate parking lots on Chicago Public Schools property.
Authorities say they’ve recovered $59 million toward the money lost when they shut down Washington Federal Bank for Savings, but they’re still out another $81 million, records show.
The former Illinois Tollway board member is new to the industry. But his Belmont Bank has been lending money for years to Rick Heidner, a giant in the business.
He was a longtime friend, customer and business partner of John F. Gembara, the Washington Federal Bank for Savings’ CEO authorities say oversaw a massive embezzlement scheme.