AT&T Illinois has agreed to pay a $23 million fine for trying to illegally sway former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.
Former AT&T Illinois President, 65 year old Paul La Schiazza, now faces charges for conspiring to influence Madigan. Madigan and longtime associate Michael McClain now face an additional conspiracy count alleging the corrupt scheme with AT&T Illinois in a superseding indictment from the federal government.
The federal investigation of AT&T Illinois (listed as Illinois Bell Telephone Company), which was previously reported by the Chicago Tribune earlier this year, is being resolved with a deferred prosecution agreement under which the company admitted it arranged for payments to be made to an ally of Madigan to influence the powerful speaker’s efforts to assist with legislation sought by the company in Springfield.
The Chicago Sun-Times says in exchange for admitting guilt and paying a $23 million fine, the charge will be dropped by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in two years. The deal is similar to the deal that Commonwealth Edison entered into more than two years ago that started the slow downfall of the Madigan regime.
The case against ComEd first implicated Madigan in a nearly decadelong scheme that has since led to the indictment of Madigan himself, as well as four people tied to ComEd who are also accused of trying to illegally influence Madigan by rewarding his allies.
According to reports, the AT&T Illinois court documents now name Madigan outright as a party to the bribery scheme. It says that in 2017, the utility arranged for an unnamed individual, whom the Chicago Tribune report names as former State Representative Edward Acevedo who was working as a registered lobbyist for another company at time time, to indirectly receive $22,500 for a 9-month consulting contract from AT&T Illinois even though he allegedly did no work in return. The payments were allegedly filtered through former Madigan staffer and political strategist Thomas Cullen.
More developments on the case are expected to be released throughout the day.