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Former Worth Township Supervisor John O’Sullivan charged by feds in bribery conspiracy

The accusations against O’Sullivan and others revolve around an alleged scheme to pay off a relative of an Oak Lawn trustee in May 2017 as part of an effort to expand a red-light camera company’s footprint in the southwest suburb.

John O’Sullivan, a former state legislator, has been a sales representative for SafeSpeed and was subpoenaed by federal authorities.
Sun-Times file

Federal prosecutors filed criminal charges Friday against former Worth Township Supervisor John O’Sullivan, an ex-state lawmaker, in the latest development in an ongoing investigation revolving around the politically connected red-light camera company SafeSpeed.

O’Sullivan, already under scrutiny for his role as a SafeSpeed sales consultant, resigned from his job in Worth Township early last year. He announced the decision shortly after another SafeSpeed consultant, Patrick Doherty, was indicted as part of the investigation.

Federal prosecutors have said they expect to file additional charges in the case involving Doherty. And the accusations they’ve now made against O’Sullivan largely mirror those against Doherty and Omar Maani, a former SafeSpeed partner.

The feds filed Friday’s bribery conspiracy charge against O’Sullivan using a document known as an information, which typically signals a defendant’s intention to plead guilty. An attorney for O’Sullivan could not immediately be reached.

Maani last year struck what’s known as a deferred-prosecution agreement with the feds, promising to cooperate in their investigation while aiming to resolve a bribery conspiracy charge also filed against him. SafeSpeed, meanwhile, has not been charged with wrongdoing. It has portrayed Maani as a rogue actor.

The accusations against Doherty, Maani and O’Sullivan revolve around an alleged scheme to pay off a relative of an Oak Lawn trustee in May 2017 as they sought to expand SafeSpeed’s footprint in the southwest suburb.

Doherty broached the idea of the pay-off in a call with Maani on May 23, 2017, according to court records. Doherty allegedly said the Oak Lawn trustee was “out of a job” and that, “he’s looking for a job for his kid.”

Doherty allegedly said the trustee’s son was “looking to make as much money as he can because he’s going to college, and his dad’s gonna have no money to give him because he’s outta work.” He also allegedly suggested paying the son $800 a week for two months.

That same day, O’Sullivan allegedly told the trustee the plan was to pay $500 a week over those two months, according to previous filings by the feds. They said in Friday’s filing that Doherty told O’Sullivan he’d make the payments “if it’s going to get us the job,” adding, “I’ll just pay it. Just make sure we get the, make sure we get the f---ing thing, the contract.”

Prosecutors also said Friday that O’Sullivan gave Doherty the son’s phone number so Doherty could offer him the job.

Doherty also served as chief of staff to ex-Cook County Commissioner Jeff Tobolski, who pleaded guilty in a separate extortion case last year that focused on his other former job as mayor of McCook.

However, Tobolski also admitted he’d engaged in multiple extortion and bribery schemes involving both offices, accepting more than $250,000 in payments “as part of criminal activity that involved more than five participants.”

The federal investigation involving SafeSpeed led to charges against Martin Sandoval early in 2020. The onetime state senator pleaded guilty then to taking bribes and agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors. Sandoval died last December, though, and the federal judge presiding over his case formally dismissed it earlier this month.

The investigation has also led to charges against Crestwood Mayor Louis Presta, who is set for trial this December.