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Suburban businessman facing federal charges for paying off ex-state Sen. Martin Sandoval

Vahooman “Shadow” Mirkhaef is accused of paying state Sen. Martin Sandoval $15,000 for his influence over IDOT in Mirkhaef’s purchase of property near his business in McCook.

Dirksen Federal Courthouse
Vahooman “Shadow” Mirkhaef is accused by federal prosecutors of conspiring to make sure IDOT expedited the sale of property near Mirkhaef’s company.
Sun-Times file photo

A suburban businessman has been accused by federal prosecutors of paying off former state Sen. Martin Sandoval so he could influence the Illinois Department of Transportation to approve Mirkhaef’s purchase of property near his company.

Vahooman “Shadow” Mirkhaef allegedly conspired with Sandoval and another person identified in the filing as “Individual A” to make sure IDOT expedited the sale of the property, according to federal charges released Friday evening.

Mirkhaef allegedly forwarded to Sandoval a string of emails Mirkhaef had exchanged with the transportation department so the senator could use that information to sway certain officials. Sandoval met with IDOT officials on June 28, 2018 — eight days after he received those emails.

On August 2, 2018, Sandoval sought to receive $25,000 from Mirkhaef for his influence over IDOT. The businessman is accused of paying Sandoval just $15,000.

Mirkhaef — who operates a “multi-faceted depot and repair facility” in McCook — worked closely with Individual A, who arranged meetings for the two men and encouraged the suburban businessman to pay Sandoval more money.

In December 2018, according to prosecutors, Sandoval visited Mirkhaef’s office to confirm another payment to him was coming. Sandoval got the money a month later.

Martin Sandoval walks out of the Everett M. Dirksen Federal Courthouse after his arraignment hearing, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, in Chicago. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times
Martin Sandoval walks out of the Everett M. Dirksen Federal Courthouse after his arraignment hearing in January 2020.
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Sandoval, who died of coronavirus last year, was a key figure in a federal public corruption investigation. He admitted to raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes.

Mirkhaef’s relationship with Sandoval was well documented; he was named in a 2019 search warrant for Sandoval’s offices at the Illinois State Capitol.

A message seeking comment from Mirkhaef was left at his business, Cub Terminal, but was not returned.