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home : news : state news free May 26, 2016

3/1/2014 3:12:00 PM
Chicago alderman's chief of staff charged

CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago alderman’s chief of staff is charged with accepting a $7,500 bribe in exchange for helping to secure a letter from his boss supporting a liquor license, federal authorities announced Friday.

Alderman Howard B. Brookins Jr.’s chief of staff, Curtis V. Thompson, 62, of Chicago, is charged with federal bribery, which carries a maximum 10-year prison term.

The complaint released Friday says that at a Christmas party last year, a cooperating witness handed a red envelope to Thompson with 75 $100 bills, telling him, “I brought you a little something.” Thompson allegedly took the envelope, carefully felt it, put it in a jacket pocket and said, “Thanks.”

Neither the complaint nor statements from the FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office name the alderman. But Brookins confirmed to the Chicago Sun-Times that Thompson is his chief of staff. The complaint refers to Thompson’s boss only as “Alderman A.”

“Are you serious? He’s been charged? Unbelievable. It’s just unbelievable. I am speechless at this point,” Brookins told the Sun-Times when told about the accusations against his chief of staff. Brookins hasn’t been charged and has not been accused of wrongdoing.

Messages left by The Associated Press on a voicemail at Brookins’ office were not returned and no one answered a cellphone number for Brookins. Thompson could not be reached; there was no publicly available telephone listing for a Curtis V. Thompson.

The complaint describes a series of phone conversations and meetings in 2013 with the cooperating witness, who was purportedly seeking a liquor license for a store or restaurant.

During an Oct. 29, 2013, meeting at which the alderman was present, the complaint says, the cooperating witness passed a note to the alderman, saying, “12K to you for letter of support.”

And during a Nov. 19 meeting the same year, the alderman allegedly agreed to send the letter. Later, the cooperating witness was asked to donate to the alderman’s holiday toy drive and to co-sponsor the alderman’s Christmas party, which he agreed to do, the complaint says. It was at the party where the alleged bribe was handed to Thompson.

Anderson Jewelers

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