Political consultant sentenced for bribing ex-Chicago alderman

A federal judge sentenced a convicted political operative to more than four years in prison Friday for bribing Chicago officials.

Roberto Caldero, 70, was sentenced to 57 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Steven Seeger after he pleaded guilty to wire fraud in September in a corruption case involving ex-Ald. Danny Solis (25th).

Prosecutors hit Caldero more than two years ago with an eight-count indictment. It said he leaned on Solis in 2016 to help an Ohio company win a $1 billion custodial services contract at the Chicago Public Schools.

Caldero’s bribes to Solis also sought to get an honorary street name designation in Chicago and the renaming of a Chicago park in honor of members of the Cacciatore family, according to prosecutors.

Roberto Caldero

To influence Solis, prosecutors said Caldero arranged for as much as $20,000 in campaign contributions to be made to political organizations affiliated the ex-alderman or his ward, as well as $50,000 in campaign contributions for the street and park re-naming. But Caldero didn’t know that Solis was cooperating with the FBI and acting at the direction of law enforcement, prosecutors said.


Prosecutors said that Caldero also bribed a high-ranking CPS official, Pedro Soto, with job offers, champagne and admission to an annual museum benefit. In return, Soto gave him inside information from the evaluation committee that was examining contracts awarded under then-CPS CEO Forrest Claypool.

Danny Solis

Soto, a former CPS chief of staff, was sentenced in March to 18 months’ probation for lying to the FBI about bribes he received from Caldero. He faced up to six months in prison after pleading guilty in September 2020, but U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman handed down a lighter sentence, citing Soto’s remorsefulness and cooperation with the feds.

Solis left the Chicago City Council after the Chicago Sun-Times in January 2019 revealed he had been cooperating for years with the feds.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.