1 convicted of paying kickbacks to disgraced ex-Bloomingdale Township road commissioner

A jury on Monday convicted Mario Giannini, who worked for Bulldog Earth Movers, at the end of a weeklong trial that featured the testimony of former Bloomingdale Township Highway Commissioner Robert Czernek.

SHARE 1 convicted of paying kickbacks to disgraced ex-Bloomingdale Township road commissioner
A sign for the Dirksen Federal Courthouse, 219 S. Dearborn St.

Former Bloomingdale Township Highway Commissioner Robert Czernek’s plea agreement said he steered more than $700,000 to Bulldog Earth Movers while taking more than $281,000 in kickbacks from Mario Giannini.

Sun-Times file

A worker at a suburban excavation company has been convicted on charges alleging he paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks to Bloomingdale Township’s onetime road commissioner.

A jury on Monday found Mario Giannini, who worked for Bulldog Earth Movers, guilty at the end of a weeklong trial that featured the testimony of disgraced former Bloomingdale Township Highway Commissioner Robert Czernek.

Giannini’s defense attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.

Czernek pleaded guilty in March to honest services wire fraud, claiming he hatched a scheme with Giannini in 2012 that began as a plan to pad Bulldog’s invoices. It then evolved until the men agreed to have Bulldog bill Bloomingdale Township for work it never performed.

The former road commissioner’s plea agreement said he steered more than $700,000 to Bulldog while taking more than $281,000 in kickbacks from Giannini and the company’s owner, Debra Fazio.

But in an extremely rare move last week, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly cleared Fazio of all charges after prosecutors rested their case. Czernek had testified that he never spoke with Fazio about the scheme. Rather, he said Giannini would come speak to him over the years, saying, “We could make some money.”

Czernek also told jurors that, when he once visited Giannini’s shop in Elgin, Giannini decided to show off his collection of toy trucks upstairs. Czernek said Giannini “had to have hundreds of trucks up there.” He told Giannini, “This looks expensive.”

Giannini allegedly replied, “As long as we keep doing what we’re doing, it will be OK.”

Susan Pavlow, Giannini’s defense attorney, pointed the finger throughout the trial at Czernek, who she said can’t be trusted and is a “heavy-weight con man.”

“He is just a corrupt politician in a long line of corrupt politicians,” Pavlow said.

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