Chicago-area mayor pleads guilty in red-light camera scheme

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A suburban Chicago mayor has pleaded guilty in federal court to taking a cash bribe from a representative of a red-light camera company and has resigned from office

CHICAGO — A suburban Chicago mayor pleaded guilty Wednesday to taking a cash bribe from a representative of a red-light camera company, the latest public official in the region to be convicted in the bribery scheme.

Crestwood Mayor Louis Presta also resigned from office before pleading guilty to felony counts of official misconduct, using in interstate commerce in aid of bribery and filing a false income tax return, the Chicago Tribune reported. The 71-year-old Presta is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 23.

Presta, a Democrat first elected mayor of the village southwest of Chicago in 2013, was charged last year after he accepted $5,000 in an envelope from a red light camera executive whom he did not know was cooperating with the FBI after he was charged for his role in the scheme..

According to his plea agreement, Presta took the money in exchange for helping the company, SafeSpeed LLC, put more cameras in the village as well as increase revenues from the cameras already there by approving more violations.

Earlier this year, John O’Sullivan, a former Worth Township supervisor and state lawmaker, pleaded guilty in the scheme. A Democratic operative has been charged in the scheme and last year, former state Sen. Martin Sandoval pleaded guilty corruption charges related to SafeSpeed. He was cooperating with prosecutors when he died of a COVID-19-related illness last year.

Neither SafeSpeed nor its current owners have been charged with any wrongdoing and the company’s CEO has said the former executive, Omar Maani, was acting on his own.