Correction: Sandoval, SafeSpeed Relationship

By Benjamin Cox on December 8, 2020 at 8:40am

In a December 5th story about the passing of former Illinois State Senator Martin Sandoval, the article states that SafeSpeed paid bribes directly to Sandoval that eventually led to his guilty plea for bribery in federal court.

In sources WBEZ and the Chicago Tribune, Sandoval confirmed that he took more than $250,000 in bribes. According to his plea agreement, Sandoval was secretly recorded discussing how e could accept payments from SafeSpeed with an FBI informant, who was later revealed to be co-owner of SafeSpeed LLCC Omar Maani. Maani was charged in a one count criminal information in the bribery scheme. The Chicago Tribune alleges that the money that Sandoval received in the wiretapped conversation was government-supplied and not directly from SafeSpeed itself.

Sandoval also admitted in his plea agreement that received $20,000 in annual campaign contributions from the company since 2016. SafeSpeed CEO Nikki Zollar and the company have denied any wrongdoing in those contributions, saying they were made legally.

SafeSpeed spokesman in January wrote to WBEZ saying that they were shocked by Sandoval’s actions in the bribery scheme: “We are shocked by the information in today’s plea agreement and the betrayal of public trust both by Sen. Sandoval and a person who had an interest in the company, who was not authorized by the company to engage in any illegal behavior or make any commitments or contributions on behalf of the company or its executives.”

In email communications with WLDS, SafeSpeed has denied any wrongdoing or participation in this case and has fully participated in cooperation with the FBI and federal courts in the ongoing investigation of the case.

WLDS News apologizes for the error and any confusion.