CHICAGO - Chicago Ald. Carrie Austin (34th) resigned Tuesday as chairman of the Committee on Contracting Oversight and Equity.
Austin, 72, was indicted on federal charges of lying to the FBI and taking bribes for allegedly conspiring to receive home improvements from construction contractors seeking assistance for a development project in her Far South Side ward.
Austin is charged with one count of conspiring to use interstate facilities to promote bribery, two counts of using interstate facilities to promote bribery and one count of willfully making false statements to the FBI
She has pleaded not guilty.
Austin remains the 34th Ward aldermen but likely won't seek re-election.
Austin’s Chief of Staff, Chester Wilson Jr., 55, of Chicago, is charged with one count of conspiring to use interstate facilities to promote bribery, two counts of using interstate facilities to promote bribery and one count of theft of government funds.
According to the indictment, a construction company planned to construct a residential development in Austin’s ward starting in 2014 at a cost of approximately $49.6 million.
Under the agreement with the city, the construction company was responsible for making infrastructure improvements within the project. This included construction of new interior streets, street lighting, landscaping and sidewalk improvements.
The company was also eligible to receive more than $10 million in tax increment financing and other payments from the city.
The indictment alleges that beginning in 2016, Austin and Wilson were provided with personal benefits by the owner of the company, and other contractors, in an effort to influence them in their official capacities.
The benefits included home improvements, furniture and appliances for Austin’s residence, and home improvement materials and services for rental properties owned by Wilson, the indictment states.