clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Presta chango! Indicted Crestwood mayor to resign — but will new suburban job suddenly appear for Lou Presta?

Presta was expected to provide notice of his resignation at a village board meeting at which trustees will also elect an acting mayor and create the new position of economic development director. Presta was reelected this year despite a federal indictment accusing him of taking a $5,000 bribe.

Crestwood Mayor Louis Presta, pictured in 2018.
Crestwood Mayor Louis Presta in 2018.
Rich Hein/Sun-Times file

Crestwood Mayor Lou Presta will resign Thursday, according to officials in the southwest suburb — about three weeks before he’s expected to plead guilty to a federal bribery charge.

Presta was expected to provide formal notice of his resignation at a Crestwood village board meeting at which trustees will also elect an acting mayor and create the new position of economic development director, according to a village agenda posted Wednesday.

The Daily Southtown reported Presta, citing health concerns for his resignation as mayor, would be chosen for that newly created job and a $65,000 annual salary that matches his mayoral pay.

Presta, 71, could not be reached for comment. He was first elected mayor in 2013 after about two decades as a village trustee. He also made an unsuccessful run for the Cook County Board of Commissioners in 2018.

That was the same year he allegedly accepted an envelope stuffed with $5,000 in cash from a representative of the politically connected red-light camera company SafeSpeed, the Sun-Times previously reported.

Campaign sign for Lou Presta’s 2018 run for the Cook County Board.
Campaign sign for Lou Presta’s 2018 run for the Cook County Board.
Sun-Times file

In an indictment filed last summer, federal prosecutors said Presta sought and received benefits from SafeSpeed representatives while the company sought to expand its services in Crestwood.

Prosecutors also said Presta had been interviewed by federal authorities Sept. 26, 2019, amid a series of raids by federal agents that included the offices of then-state Sen. Martin Sandoval at the state Capitol in Springfield.

During Presta’s interview, the feds say he denied receiving any gifts or cash campaign contributions from SafeSpeed. Then, when shown a recording of a March 7, 2018, meeting at which the feds say he accepted the cash, Presta allegedly lied and said there was no money in the envelope.

Former state Sen. Martin Sandoval, shown leaving the federal courthouse early last year.
Former state Sen. Martin Sandoval, shown leaving the federal courthouse early last year.
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times file.

Presta faces charges of bribery, lying to the FBI and the IRS and filing false income tax returns for the years 2015 and 2018, plus failing to file an income tax return for 2014.

Despite the indictment, Presta was handily elected to a third term in April, winning 62% of the vote in the village of about 11,000.

Last month, his criminal defense attorney asked a federal judge to cancel a trial scheduled for December because Presta was expected to plead guilty. A change-of-plea hearing is scheduled for Oct. 29.

The village board meeting is scheduled for 8 p.m. Thursday at the Crestwood Civic Center, 13820 S. Cicero.

Sandoval pleaded guilty to corruption charges related to SafeSpeed in January 2020 and agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors. He died in December 2020.

Contributing: Jon Seidel