This latest news could spell doom for the crooked and the wicked behind the heart of Chicago’s crime and corruption, politicians included!
Ex-Teamster leader John T. Coli has just plead guilty on charges of extortion, which usually carries a jail sentence of up to 8 years.
However, Coli has agreed to a deal to lighten his sentence which could give him less than 2 years jail time as long as he “fully and truthfully” cooperates with authorities to flip on others involved in Chicago’s infamous corruption!
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Take a look at this breaking news that hit Twitter just today:
The Chicago Sun Times has more details on Coli's plea deal:
When longtime Chicago Teamsters boss John T. Coli realized in 2016 the secret cash payments he’d been pocketing from Cinespace Chicago Film Studios might stop flowing, he didn’t mince words.
He threatened the home of hit TV shows like “Chicago Fire” and “Empire” by angrily telling Cinespace president Alex Pissios, “We’ll shut it down tomorrow. We’ll shut it down within an hour . . . I will f---ing have a picket line up here and everything will stop.”
Pissios had warned him that other executives at the clout-heavy West Side studio were becoming suspicious about the money. Coli told him, “there’s gonna be time-to-time unique things that are gonna come up that you’re gonna have to deal with … you can’t have a f---ing rat in a wood pile. You can’t have a whistleblower here.”
But Pissios, it turned out, was the one working with law enforcement. And in a remarkable turn of events Tuesday, Coli officially joined him in cooperating with federal prosecutors. It’s a move likely to increase anxiety in a city already rocked by ongoing investigations deep into Illinois’ halls of power — and straight to the heart of classic Chicago corruption.
That’s because the feds have now enlisted a longtime labor leader with ties to several prominent politicians, including Michael J. Madigan, Richard M. Daley, Rahm Emanuel and Pat Quinn. Coli has agreed to “fully and truthfully cooperate in any matter in which he is called upon to cooperate” by the U.S. Attorney’s office.
That’s according to Coli’s 26-page plea agreement, released Tuesday as Coli pleaded guilty in an extortion case revolving around $325,000 in cash payments he received from Cinespace between 2014 and 2017. Coli officially pleaded guilty to receiving a prohibited payment as a union officer and making a false income tax return.
Though he faces up to eight years in prison, his full cooperation could land him a sentence of less than two years. U.S. Chief District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer agreed Tuesday to hold off on sentencing Coli until that cooperation is complete.
Coli, 59, retired from his role with the Teamsters around the time of his indictment in July 2017. But his plea deal lists a smorgasbord of free benefits he received from various businesses as a Teamster official, including meals in Las Vegas, tickets and box seats at professional sporting events, the use of a yacht and two-person crew around the United States and for “an excursion in and around Italy,” as well as additional cash payments.
The Chicago Tribune also said:
Longtime Chicago union boss John Coli Sr. doesn’t necessarily seem like the type to cooperate with authorities.
A politically connected and nationally known fixture in the Teamsters, Coli once told a lawyer in sworn testimony to “go f--- yourself.” He dodged controversy for years — from suspicious appointments to state boards to allegations of organized crime ties — often accusing his accusers of using overzealous investigative tactics.
And in 2016, Coli was caught on an undercover FBI recording urging the firing of an executive at a West Side film studio who was purportedly balking at paying him extortion money.
“You can’t have a f----- rat in the woodpile,” Coli allegedly said to the head of the studio who was wearing a hidden wire. “You can’t have a whistleblower here.”
On Tuesday, however, Coli became an unlikely cooperator in his own right.
In pleading guilty to corruption charges stemming from the extortion scheme, Coli agreed to cooperate with federal authorities in any ongoing investigations, including “complete and truthful testimony” in any criminal or civil proceeding.
The news of Coli’s cooperation is sure to cause waves amid Illinois political circles, since Coli for years used his national position with the Teamsters to hold sway with some of the city and state’s most powerful elected officials — including longtime House Speaker Michael Madigan, former Mayor Rahm Emanuel, ex-Gov. Pat Quinn and his successor, Bruce Rauner.
In April, it was revealed that the same federal grand jury that indicted Coli had subpoenaed the Illinois Senate for documents on state Sen. Tom Cullerton’s reimbursements for “travel, lodging, meals, cellular phone and vehicle allowances” from Feb. 1, 2013, through March 3, 2016.
Cullerton, a former Villa Park village president and Teamsters organizer who has served in the Senate since 2013, has not been charged with wrongdoing. He declined to comment when contacted by the Tribune earlier this year.
In a hearing Tuesday before U.S. District Chief Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer, Coli pleaded guilty to one count each of receiving illegal payments and filing a false income tax return, admitting he extorted a total of $325,000 from Individual 1 — previously identified by the Tribune as Cinespace Studio President Alex Pissios.
According to Coli’s 26-page plea agreement, between 2014 and 2017, Pissios paid the bribes through a series of $25,000 quarterly payments that Coli failed to report on his tax returns, cheating the Internal Revenue Service and state of Illinois out of about a combined $117,000 in tax revenue.
The agreement calls for a sentence of up to about three years in prison, but if Coli cooperates fully, prosecutors will recommend he be given about half that time.
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