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McCook police chief indicted in extortion scheme related to Jeff Tobolski case

Tobolski, the former mayor of McCook and Cook County commissioner, pleaded guilty earlier this month, admitting he engaged in multiple extortion and bribery schemes.

Ex-Cook County Commissioner Jeff Tobolski
Ex-Cook County Commissioner Jeff Tobolski.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times file photo

The police chief of tiny west suburban McCook has been indicted in an extortion scheme related to the corruption case against the village’s former mayor, Jeff Tobolski.

Mario DePasquale has been charged with extortion, conspiracy to commit extortion and attempted extortion more than two weeks after Tobolski, also a former Cook County commissioner, admitted to his role in a scheme that involved an unnamed McCook police officer.

Mario DePasquale
Village of McCook Police Department

DePasquale’s name also appeared in search warrant documents one year ago when the feds targeted Tobolski’s mayoral offices amid a series of suburban raids.

DePasquale could not immediately be reached for comment Friday evening, when the indictment was filed in federal court. An attorney for DePasquale was not listed on the docket.

Tobolski pleaded guilty to an extortion conspiracy and filing a false tax return earlier this month, admitting he engaged in multiple extortion and bribery schemes involving his two offices and accepting more than $250,000 in payments “as part of criminal activity that involved more than five participants.”

His plea agreement laid out the details of only one scheme, though — the one the feds now allege involved DePasquale. It involved a restaurant that signed a five-year deal with McCook in 2013 to use village property.

According to DePasquale’s indictment, he allegedly demanded one of the restaurant’s owners pay him and Tobolski $1,500 for each themed event the owner’s company wanted to host at the restaurant. Tobolski and DePasquale allegedly planned for DePasquale to go to the restaurant on multiple occasions to collect money from the owner, and then the feds say the men split the cash.

DePasquale also allegedly told the restaurant owner to contribute to Tobolski’s political campaign. The owner did so to make sure DePasquale and Tobolski did not interfere with the restaurant, according to the indictment.

Though court records in the cases involving DePasquale and Tobolski have not named the restaurant, the feds also last year seized records related to a restaurant once known as The Pub at The Max — located inside a McCook-owned indoor sports complex.

The Max, an indoor sporting complex in McCook.
The Max, an indoor sporting complex in McCook.
John O’Neill/Sun-Times