CHICAGO (CBS) — A new published report says a popular Chicago Police officer known as the “Mayor of 63rd Street” was the federal mole who snagged many political workers for former state Sen. Rickey Hendon (D-Chicago.)
The Chicago Sun-Times reports Officer Ali Haleem was known for offering his expertise to FBI anti-terrorism efforts and working to build trust between police and the Southwest Side’s Arab-American community.
But for four years, Haleem also used some of the skills he learned as an undercover narcotics officer to act as a confidential informant for federal investigators probing wide-ranging political corruption, according to sources and public records.
Haleem is the unnamed police officer who was the cooperating witness — the government “mole” — at the center of the federal investigation that resulted in bribery charges leveled last month against nine people, most of them political workers for Hendon, the Sun-Times has learned.
Haleem, 45, hasn’t been charged with any crime “but will likely be charged in the future with attempted extortion and firearms-related offenses,” according to court records.
Haleem was arrested in July 2008 during what authorities called “an investigation of public corruption and gun-trafficking occurring in the Chicago area.” He has been cooperating with federal agents since then in hopes of receiving a lighter sentence.
During his years as a federal snitch, Haleem secretly wore a wire to produce much of the evidence authorities cited in charging the nine corruption defendants, including Hendon’s former campaign treasurer.
Seven are accused of giving illegal kickbacks for government grants.
In a separate case, two men are accused of taking bribes to fix property-tax appeals cases while they worked for Cook County Board of Review Commissioner Larry Rogers Jr., who has not been charged with any wrongdoing.
One of the two accused Board of Review employees also was a political worker for Hendon. In all, six of the nine defendants had ties to Hendon, who resigned from the Illinois Senate last year and has not been charged with any crime.
Even as Haleem worked undercover for federal authorities, he remained on the job with the Chicago Police Department, where he started in 1994. He makes more than $80,000 a year as a cop, according to city payroll data.
Department sources confirm that Haleem remains a police officer but say he has been reassigned to desk duty at the city’s 311 center, stripped of his police powers.
A spokesman of the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago declined to comment about Haleem.
Reached by phone, Haleem also said he didn’t want to talk.
The Chicago Sun-Times’ Dan Milahopoulos, Frank Main and Steve Warmbir contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)