The chief of staff for Ald. Howard Brookins has been charged with taking a $7,500 bribe to help fix an alcohol license application, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Curtis V. Thompson Jr., 62, of the 4700 block of Greenwood, took the bribe from a man who said he wanted to open a convenience store, but was in fact working as an undercover informant for the FBI, according to a criminal complaint unsealed Friday.
The complaint says a federal investigation began in 2012 but led to an Oct. 9, 2013 meeting at which the informant handed Thompson a note offering the $7,500 bribe in return for a letter of support for his liquor license from the alderman, the newspaper is reporting.
“Okay, I understand, I understand.” Thompson allegedly replied, stating that he would bring it up with the alderman.
The alderman is referred to only as Alderman A in the criminal complaint, but various details make it clear that the complaint is referring to Brookins.
At a second meeting on Nov. 19, the alderman was present as the informant offered a $12,000 bribe, the feds allege.
In a brief interview Friday, Brookins said he was unaware of any bribe.
The alderman’s office allegedly shook down the informant for donations to the alderman’s holiday toy drive and to co-sponsor the alderman’s Christmas party, the complaint alleges.
After the informant agreed to pay those bribes, he was handed a letter from the alderman which read, “Please allow this letter to serve as my full support for a 7-Eleven convenience store…This store will be a welcomed addition to [my] community and those that patronize the area for shopping and convenience needs. As well as wine and spirits (alcohol).”
The informant attended the alderman’s Christmas party on Dec. 19, and, while walking out of the party with Thompson, allegedly gave Thompson a red envelope containing a Christmas card and 75 $100 bills. Thompson took the envelope from the informant, “felt it deliberately, looked at it and then placed it in a jacket pocket,” according to the complaint.
If convicted, Thompson faces 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.