Sen. Martin Sandoval
Municipalities in the legislative district represented by state Sen. Martin Sandoval (D-Chicago) have paid him on the side for translation and public relations works, but trying to get them to release details of just what he did for them and how much he was paid has been futile.
Two of the municipalities cited in news reports as having Sandoval on retainer, Melrose Park and Cicero, responded to Freedom of Information (FOIA) requests from West Cook News only to say they needed more time to check for records of any such payments. Others wrote back that they had no record of having paid Sandoval, or his translation company, Puentes Inc., at all.
The FOIA officer for Melrose Park wrote that West Cook New's request could not be completed “without unduly burdening or interfering with the operations of the public body.”
Cicero wrote a similar response and added: “The requested records require examination and evaluation by personnel having necessary competence and discretion to determine if they are exempt from disclosure…or should be revealed only with appropriate deletions.”
Sandoval's statements of economic interest filed with the Illinois Secretary of State's office confirmed that he has done side work for the municipalities, in addition to North Berwyn Park District.
In 2012 the Chicago Sun-Times, citing Cicero records, reported that that the town paid Puentes $4,200 a month.
On September 24, FBI agents, accompanied by agents from the IRS’ Criminal Investigation Division, raided three villages in Sandoval’s district. The FBI described the McCook and Lyons raids as “authorized law enforcement activity while they described their actions in Summit, as “investigative activity.”
A few days before the village raids, the FBI raided Sandoval’s Springfield office, his home in Chicago, and his office in Gage Park, where he operates Puentes.
Last week, the Illinois Senate released a heavily redacted version of the warrant for the search federal agents conducted at Sandoval’s Springfield office to the Chicago Tribune.
“The documents show authorities were looking for information related to concrete and construction businesses, lobbyists and public officials, and ‘items related to any official action taken in exchange for a benefit,’” the Tribune reported. “Agents seized computers, cellphones, hard drives, invoices and a spreadsheet from Sandoval’s campaign fund, records show.”
Also last week, Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker asked that Sandoval step aside as chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. The position of the chair became even more powerful when in June the governor signed a $45 billion capital spending plan that includes increased spending for roads, bridges, parks and schools.