Big bucks for State Sen. Martin Sandoval’s side gig

Data pix.

CHICAGO — A state lawmaker’s consulting firm has received big money from a handful of suburbs in lucrative dealings that may have caught the FBI’s attention.

Federal agents raided Sen. Martin Sandoval’s home and state offices in late September. Among the targets: Items related to the Democratic state senator’s personal business. An un-redacted copy of the search warrant, obtained by WGN Investigates, shows the FBI has interest in Sandoval’s consulting firm, called Puentes Inc.

Through interviews and records, WGN Investigates found Sandoval’s business has worked with three local government agencies in recent years. They include the North Berwyn Park District and the municipal governments in Cicero and Melrose Park.

In all, the taxpayer-funded agencies paid Puentes $735,000 since 2008.

Cicero is located within Sandoval’s district. It paid Puentes the most, over $550,000.

None of the work for any of the agencies was put out to bid.

The FBI raid is believed to be part of a sweeping investigation into possible public corruption.

Agents have also searched village halls in suburban Lyons and McCook. The towns are in Sandoval’s district but it’s unknown if the raids are related. The senator has not been charged with any wrongdoing. He didn’t return messages.

There is nothing illegal about lawmakers having outside jobs. Many of them do, in fact.

The feds are looking at whether any official action was taken in exchange for a benefit.

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