Ald. Carrie Austin, chief of staff, indicted for federal bribery

Chicago News

CHICAGO — Ald. Carrie Austin has been indicted on federal bribery charges, prosecutors announced Thursday.

Austin, 72, of Chicago, is charged with one count of conspiring to use interstate facilities to promote bribery, two counts of using interstate facilities to promote bribery, and one count of willfully making materially false statements to the FBI. 

The indictment revolves around plans for a nearly $50 million development in her ward. The indictment comes two years after federal officials raided Austin’s ward office.

Austin’s chief of staff, Chester Wilson, 55, is also charged with one count of conspiring to use interstate facilities to promote bribery, two counts of using interstate facilities to promote bribery, and one count of theft of government funds.

The indictment alleges that beginning in 2016, a construction company allegedly bribed Austin and her chief of staff with free home improvements in an attempt to curry favor and in exchange for the contract to a development project. 

“We don’t mind being investigated,” Austin said in 2016. “At least I don’t because I don’t have anything to hide. Neither do my employees have anything to hide.”

In July 2017, according to the indictment, prosecutors say Austin used a cellphone to solicit bathroom tiles in white or vein white from a developer who is now deceased. The next day, she is accused of accepting the developer’s offer to pay for two brand new and expensive sump pumps at her residence.

Later, after a conversation about potential changes to TIF funds for the development, the indictment says Wilson told the developer to make sure they work on heating and air at his income property. 

READ: Full indictment on Chicago Ald. Carrie Austin, her chief of staff

Austin is now the third sitting alderperson under federal indictment. Aldermen Ed Burke was indicted in 2019, and Patrick Daley Thompson this past April

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