Businessman Charged With Bribing "City Agent"

City papers name "city agent" as Ald. Ike Carothers

Thursday, Nov 5, 2009  |  Updated 10:30 PM CDT
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Double crossed!

A suburban businessman charged Thursday with offering $100,000 to a Chicago official in exchange for restaurant locations at city airports was unaware the official was secretly cooperating with investigators, federal officials said Thursday.

Wafeek Aiyash, 50, of Naperville appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sidney I. Schenkier and was released on a $20,000 unsecured bond.

The complaint did not name the city official, but said he had himself been charged with bribery and was cooperating with agents in hopes of earning a reduced sentence.

The Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune, citing unnamed sources, said the official was Ald. Isaac Carothers who was charged last year with taking payoffs in exchange for a zoning change.

Carothers' attorney, Lawrence Beaumont, would not say if his client was the cooperating witness.

Aiyash's attorney, Eugene O'Malley, could not be reached immediately for comment. A message was left at his office.

According to the complaint, Aiyash offered $100,000 for five restaurant locations at O'Hare International Airport and Midway Airport for himself and partners. He ended up delivering $9,000 in two installments to the official.

According to the complaint, the official recorded many of the conversations leading up to the charge. Aiyash wrote some of the numbers on Post-it notes, showed them to the official, then crumpled them up and threw them away, it said.

It also said that before the discussion of restaurant spaces at the airports, Aiyash had paid between $40,000 and $50,000 to the official in exchange for help in developing a piece of property.

Bribery carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. A hearing in the case was scheduled for Nov. 12.

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