Former Oakbrook Terrace Mayor Tony Ragucci charged with taking thousands in secret payments
Ragucci has previously insisted to the Chicago Sun-Times that Oakbrook Terrace’s contract with SafeSpeed LLC “was all done legit. … We did everything legit and clean here.” He could not be reached for comment Monday.
Former Oakbrook Terrace Mayor Tony Ragucci accepted thousands of dollars in secret payments in exchange for renewing a red-light camera company’s deal with the western suburb, according to new federal criminal charges filed against him.
The scheme continued until September 2019, according to a seven-page charging document. That’s the same month federal agents conducted raids in several southwestern suburbs. Agents also seized $60,000 in cash from Ragucci’s home in 2019, records have shown.
Ragucci has previously insisted to the Chicago Sun-Times that Oakbrook Terrace’s contract with red-light camera company SafeSpeed LLC “was all done legit. … We did everything legit and clean here.”
Ragucci could not be reached for comment Monday.
Prosecutors charged Ragucci using a document known as an information, which is typically a sign a defendant intends to plead guilty. Ragucci’s arraignment is set for Thursday. No defense attorney had been listed on the court docket for Ragucci as of Monday morning.
Other politicians snared by the feds in connection with SafeSpeed include former Crestwood Mayor Louis Presta and the late state Sen. Martin Sandoval. The company has not been charged with wrongdoing and has claimed a former partner behaved as a rogue actor.
Onetime SafeSpeed partner Omar Maani was charged in 2020 with a bribery conspiracy but agreed to cooperate with the feds in what’s known as a deferred-prosecution agreement.
Ragucci struck a deal with SafeSpeed in 2012 for red-light cameras in Oakbrook Terrace, though they didn’t become operational until August 2017, according to the charges. A separate company acted as SafeSpeed’s sales representative in Oakbrook Terrace.
The president of the separate company offered in 2016 to hire a relative of Ragucci’s in exchange for ongoing support of SafeSpeed, according to the charges. Ragucci allegedly said that couldn’t happen, so the president promised Ragucci $3,500 monthly payments.
Those payments allegedly began after August 2017. The separate company’s president died in January 2018, but payments continued to Ragucci from that person’s relatives until September 2019.
Meanwhile, Ragucci also allegedly sought a cash payment in 2018 from Maani in exchange for a one-year renewal of SafeSpeed’s deal. Ragucci allegedly accepted $5,000 from Maani on Aug. 8, 2018, as well as $7,500 on May 21, 2019, in exchange for another renewal.
Ragucci is also accused of filing a false income tax return for 2018, in which he reported his total income was $95,830 when he “knew that his total income substantially exceeded that amount,” according to the charges.
Campaign records show Ragucci has accepted donations from a business run by the Palumbo family, which was tangled up in the case against former top Chicago official William Helm. Ragucci has also given money to former state Sen. Thomas Cullerton, who pleaded guilty last month to embezzlement.