CHICAGO (CBS) — William Helm, the former deputy commissioner of the Chicago Department of Aviation and a Chicago political insider, was facing federal charges Thursday claiming that he bribed former state Sen. Martin Sandoval.
As CBS 2’s Chris Tye reported, Sandoval pleaded guilty to taking more than $200,000 in bribes on Tuesday, Jan. 28. He agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors – and that cooperation appears to have begun.
An indictment handed down on Thursday accuses Helm and his consulting company of offering the bribes to Sandoval in exchange for Illinois Department of Transportation approval for a development project in East Dundee.
The indictment said “Company A” hired Helm to bribe Sandoval. It accused Helm of “intending to influence and reward Martin Sandoval” with “a thing of value of $5,000 or more.”
In exchange, Sandoval would get them “IDOT approval for signalization and roadwork related to Company A’s development project in East Dundee, Illinois,” the indictment said.
In 2018, CBS 2 spoke with two O’Hare International Airport truck drivers who were suing Helm when he was with the Aviation Department. They claimed Helm punished them for refusing to do political jobs on city time.
“It’s been an emotional roller coaster out at the airport under Bill Helm, the abuse,” O’Hare truck driver Hector Hernandez told CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley.
Now the questions mount – who else lined Sandoval’s pockets, and whose secrets will he expose next?
The suit against Helm by O’Hare truck drivers Hernandez and Charles Termini still has not been settled. Helm denies allegations that he pressured them to do political jobs on city times.
After two years, their attorneys said the city continues to defend Helm, kicking the case down the road.