Former red-light camera exec who helped feds gets his bribery case dismissed
CHICAGO - Nearly three years after he cut a deal to cooperate with federal investigators in a wide-ranging probe of public corruption in Chicago and the south suburbs, prosecutors Thursday dropped a bribery case against the former co-owner of a red-light camera company.
During a telephone hearing that lasted around a minute, federal prosecutors dismissed the single count of conspiracy to bribe a public official that had hung over businessman Omar Maani’s head since he was charged in 2019.
Maani’s lawyer, Jeffrey Lichtman said after the hearing that Maani did indeed cooperate fully with the federal investigation, which would go on to ensnare the late state Sen. Martin Sandoval, former Crestwood Mayor Louis Presta, Oak Brook Terrace Mayor Tony Ragucci, Cook County Board member Jeffrey Tobolski and Tobolski’s chief of staff, Pat Doherty. Maani may yet take the stand in an upcoming trial stemming from the red-light camera probe, Lichtman said.
"He remains available to testify," Lichtman said.
As part of his assistance with the investigation, Maani wore a concealed microphone that recorded multiple incriminating conversations with Doherty and other players in the scam.
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Doherty also worked as a sales rep for SafeSpeed LLC, a camera company that Maani co-founded, and as part of his deal with prosecutors, Maani admitted that he and Doherty hatched a plan to pay a relative of an unnamed village board member in Oak Lawn, hoping to sway the board member’s vote to install SafeSpeed cameras in the village.
In calls recorded by investigators, Doherty told Maani that the trustee was "out of a job" and looking for a job for his son.
"I think he’s looking to make as much money as he can, because he’s going to college, and his dad’s gonna have no money to give him because he’s out of work," Doherty said during one of several recorded calls. After Maani waffled on making a decision to pay the bribe, Doherty eventually told Maani, "I’m just gonna pay the kid just on the chance of, uh, that we can get the other ones in Oak Lawn."
Doherty has since pleaded guilty to bribery and tax charges and was sentenced to five years in prison. Maani spent no time behind bars, and court records show a judge, with consent from prosecutors, allowed Maani to go on a weeklong trip to Grand Cayman with his family in 2022 and Aruba in March.
Representatives of SafeSpeed LLC did not immediately respond to requests for comment.