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Feds Raid Politically-Connected Bridgeport Scrap Metal Firm

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CHICAGO (STMW) – Federal law-enforcement authorities have raided the South Side headquarters of Acme Refining, a politically connected scrap-metal company, as part of an ongoing investigation, the Sun-Times reports.

Agents with the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division arrived with a search warrant Wednesday at Acme’s offices at 3357 S. Justine St., in the Bridgeport neighborhood, according to Randall Samborn, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago.

No arrests were made at the site of the raid, and no charges have been filed in the case, Samborn said Thursday. He declined to comment further.

On its website, Acme boasts that it is “the largest privately owned recycling company in the Midwest,” with seven locations, 200 trucks, 400 employees and clients in six states.

Founded 40 years ago, the company has contributed nearly $200,000 to Illinois political campaigns since 1999, including $6,500 to Mayor Rahm Emanuel and a $5,000 contribution to Gov. Pat Quinn on June 26.

Brett Baron, a principal in Acme and son of President Larry Baron, also donated $15,000 to President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.

But by far the biggest recipient of Acme contributions has been the 25th Ward Regular Democratic Organization, led by Ald. Danny Solis, which has reported accepting a total of $32,500 from the company.

Brett Baron has a 50 percent stake in a pending proposal for a new metal shredder in the 25th Ward, according to city documents.

He is part of a joint venture called Pure Metal Recycling that recently applied for special approval to build and operate a new shredder on a 14.8 acre site at Cermak Avenue and Loomis Street, along the south branch of the Chicago River.

The lobbyists for Pure Metal Recycling include Brian Hynes, a business partner of Solis’ sister Patti Doyle Solis. City records show the company has paid $20,000 in lobbying fees this year to Hynes and Victor Roberson, who was a top aide in Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s administration.

Brett Baron declined to comment Thursday.

The plan for the shredder was on the agenda for the city Zoning Board of Appeals meeting last week. Solis asked officials to withdraw it from the meeting’s agenda because he said he needed more time to receive community feedback on the plan.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)