Former Cook County Commissioner Joseph Mario Moreno and ex-Chicago Ald. Ambrosio Medrano have been charged with bribery, federal officials said today.
Moreno, who was first elected to the County Board in 1994 but lost re-election in 2010, was charged with allegedly taking a $5,000 payoff in connection with a waste transfer station in Cicero. He was also linked to a bribe scheme involving the sale of bandages to Stroger Hospital and other public hospitals, authorities alleged.
Medrano, who was convicted of bribery as an alderman in the 1990s, was charged with offering a bribe to an undercover informant while working as a staff member for Moreno.
Medrano was ordered held in custody today after prosecutors argued he was a risk to flee if he was released. Authorities said Moreno and Medrano were each charged in two separate schemes.
In the first one, they acted together, using bribery and kickbacks to sell bandages to Stroger Hospital and other public hospitals, the charges alleged. Three Chicago area businessmen were also charged in this scheme.
In a separate scheme, Medrano allegedly teamed up with two businessmen to illegally obtain business from an undisclosed out-of-state hospital system through bribery and kickbacks, authorities charged.
Moreno was also charged with allegedly pocketing a $5,000 bribe to ensure development of a waste transfer station in Cicero while he sat on a town economic development panel.
Medrano’s arrest came almost exactly 16 years after he was sentenced to 2 ½ years in prison for pocketing $31,000 in bribes in the undercover Operation Silver Shovel probe. He had pleaded guilty in 1996 to taking the payoffs in return for providing do-nothing jobs for two people on the City Council Housing Committee.
Medrano, who was first elected alderman in 1991, served 21 months at the federal prison in Oxford, Wis.
After his release from prison, Medrano ran unsuccessfully in 2003 to reclaim his aldermanic seat from Ald. Daniel Solis, 25th.
He sought to run for alderman again in 2007, but the Illinois Supreme Court ended that campaign by ruling Medrano was ineligible to run because of his felony conviction.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun