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Press Release

Contractor Sentenced to More Than 3 Years in Prison for Paying Bribes to South Suburban Mayor

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Illinois

CHICAGO — A federal judge in Chicago has sentenced a contractor to more than three years in prison for paying bribes to the mayor of Markham to maintain and expand business with the south suburb.

MICHAEL JARIGESE, 67, of Frankfort, was convicted last year on nine counts of wire fraud and one count of bribery.  The jury also convicted Mokena-based TOWER CONTRACTING LLC on the same charges.  Jarigese was Tower’s president when he paid more than $80,000 in bribes to Markham Mayor DAVID WEBB JR. to maintain contracting work and obtain future business from the city.  To conceal the bribes, Jarigese provided Webb with a false invoice and used coffee cups to hide cash payments.  In exchange for the money, Webb took official action that benefited Jarigese and Tower, such as helping to award the company a multi-million dollar construction project.

U.S. District Judge Robert W. Gettleman on Thursday sentenced Jarigese to three years and five months in prison.  Judge Gettleman fined Tower Contracting $1.2 million and sentenced it to four years of probation.

The sentences were announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the FBI; and Kathy A. Enstrom, Special Agent-in-Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago.  The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission provided valuable assistance.

“By bribing Webb, Jarigese rigged the system, ensuring that Tower’s uncompetitive and unchallenged proposals were the only option presented to the Markham City Council,” Assistant U.S. Attorneys Steven J. Dollear, Heather K. McShain and Georgia N. Alexakis argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum.  “Markham did not get the best value for each of the construction projects completed by Tower; instead, they were subject to a corrupt relationship between Jarigese, Tower, and Webb.”

Webb, who served as mayor of Markham from 2001 to 2017, pleaded guilty prior to trial and admitted participating in the scheme.  Webb’s sentencing has not yet been scheduled.

A fourth defendant, THOMAS SUMMERS, owner of an Alsip-based sewer business, was tried separately and convicted last year of making false statements to the FBI and IRS.  Summers is set to be sentenced by Judge Gettleman on April 28, 2020.

Updated March 13, 2020

Public Corruption