Markham ex-mayor facing federal charges in alleged kickback scheme
Ex-Markham Mayor David Webb Jr. was accused in federal court in Chicago of bribery, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois.
The grand jury indictment says Webb accepted kickbacks in excess of $300,000 from companies he allegedly helped gain work from the city during the last half of his 16-year tenure as mayor. In addition to cash payments, some of the funds were allegedly laundered through his campaign, programs run by the city or companies controlled by Webb and his family. The charges include wire fraud, bribery and conspiracy, and falsifying a tax return.
“As part of the bribery scheme, Webb allegedly used his influence as mayor to help the vendors maintain city business or procure new city contracts, including the renovation of a Markham park and the construction of a multimillion dollar senior living complex that would later be named in Webb’s honor,” the press release stated.
U.S. Attorney John R. Lausch Jr., announced the case on Dec. 1. Lausch was nominated by President Donald Trump in August to fill a vacancy left when his predecessor resigned, according to the Congress.gov website.
Two firms named in the indictment are Alsterda Cartage Construction Co. Inc., and Tower Contracting LLC. According to the release, Webb “personally solicited bribes” from the two companies, which were already city contractors. Alsterda allegedly gave multiple checks totaling $174,000 to the mayor over a five-year period. The checks went to either KAT Remodeling Inc. or KAT Realty Investments Inc., while additional cash was donated to Webb’s campaign. The indictment alleges the companies were shell firms that existed solely to launder money and provided no services.
Alsterda owner Thomas Summers is charged with conspiracy to commit federal bribery. Bribery carries a maximum penalty of 10 years, and conspiracy adds five additional years behind bars.
Tower Contracting President Michael Jarigese and his company are each facing nine counts of honest services wire fraud and one count of federal program bribery in connection with the case, which alleges Webb helped Tower land the $3.4 million Roesner Park project, the release states. In exchange for the extra work, Tower allegedly paid the mayor’s companies $85,000 and contributed $150,000 to his election campaign. Each count of wire fraud carries a 20-year maximum prison sentence.
Some of the discrepancies in funding were noted in the indictment as overpayment for the projects the defendants allegedly received in exchange for the bribes. For example, the senior living center Tower Construction had contracted to build was given at $10,586,000, while the payment for the project was $10.9 million. Likewise, for the Roesner Park development, the actual price paid was $3.9 million versus a contract price of $3,446,000.
The investigation that yielded the indictment involved the Chicago offices of the FBI and the IRS Criminal Investigation Division, as well as the Securities Exchange Commission.