Crestwood mayor pleads guilty to corruption charges, resigns

Former Crestwood Mayor Louis Presta pleaded guilty Wednesday to corruption charges, admitting he sought cash payments from a red-light camera company’s representative and telling a federal judge he quit his position with the village Tuesday.

"I resigned last night," Presta, 71, told U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin at the start of a hearing Wednesday.

Presta then went on to plead guilty to a bribery and official misconduct count, as well as to filing a false income tax return. He could face a sentence of two years or more in prison.


Presta’s attorney told the judge last September to cancel his trial in Chicago’s federal court in anticipation of Presta’s guilty plea.

Then, the public learned in October that Presta planned to resign from his top village job and accept a new, unelected position that would have paid him the same salary. He wound up backtracking, telling angry constituents at the Crestwood Civic Center those plans were on hold "based on the decisions of the board, my attorney and my doctors."

Presta easily won reelection last April despite the federal charges filed against him. Village officials declined to comment Wednesday morning on Presta’s status.

Presta has faced a federal indictment since August 2020 charging him with bribery, filing false tax returns and lying to the FBI and IRS. Presta lied about whether an envelope he took during a March 2018 meeting with a representative of the politically connected red-light camera company SafeSpeed had been stuffed with $5,000 cash, according to the indictment.