Chicago alderman indicted for bribery

May 28, 2009 at 6:11 PM

CHICAGO, May 28 (UPI) -- A Chicago alderman and a real estate developer were indicted Thursday on charges alleging bribery and corruption in the rezoning of an industrial site.

Developer Calvin Boender allegedly paid for $40,000 in improvements to Alderman Isaac Carothers' home and gave the alderman meals and tickets to sporting events for Carothers' support of zoning changes for Galewood Yards, the largest undeveloped tract of land within the city limits, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said.

The 11-count indictment said the rezoning resulted in a sale worth about $6 million more than if the changes hadn't been made, from which Boender allegedly received about $3 million.

"Using public office to obtain personal financial benefits violates the public trust and we will continue to vigilantly investigate and prosecute both corrupt public officials and businessmen who seek to profit by corrupting them," Fitzgerald said.

Carothers -- a member of the Rules and Ethics and Finance and Zoning committees, among others -- was charged with four counts of wire or mail fraud and one count each of receiving a bribe and filing a false federal income tax return. Boender was charged with four counts of wire or mail fraud, two counts of obstruction of justice, two misdemeanor counts of violating federal campaign finance laws and one count of paying a bribe.

The indictment seeks forfeiture of at least $40,000 from Carothers, representing the financial benefits he received in home improvements, and at least $3 million from Boender, reflecting the proceeds he received from the sale and development of Galewood Yards based on the zoning changes and his financial interests in Galewood Yards and RSD Galewood, a real estate development company.

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