Cook County official pleads not guilty to bribery charges related to red light camera contract

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CHICAGO — Longtime political insider Patrick Doherty appeared before a judge Thursday at the Dirksen Federal Building in Chicago and pleaded not guilty to three felony charges of bribery and attempted bribery over a very lucrative red-light camera contract.

The 64-year-old Doherty of Palos Heights is the chief of staff for Cook County Commissioner Jeff Tobolski who also serves as the mayor of McCook.

According to federal officials, Doherty also worked as a sales agent for a red light camera company called Safespeed Inc. Safespeed has a contract to operate the cameras in Oak Lawn.

Officials said he offered to pay bribes to a relative of an Oak Lawn trustee and that in 2017, Doherty can be heard saying on a recorded phone call that he’d pay, in $500 installments over eight weeks,  “if it’s going to get us the job.”

The charges against Doherty come about two weeks after former Illinois state senator Martin Sandoval plead guilty to taking $70,000 in bribes to act as a protector for Safespeed.

Federal agents raided Sandoval’s home and offices last September four months before he was charged. The warrant showed that the FBI was looking for evidence related to an array of subjects including the Tobolski.

Doherty is expected to be released on bond. His next court appearance is scheduled for later this month.

 

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