Former Director of Chicago’s Hired Truck Program
Charged With Extortion in Federal Court
The former head of Chicago's $40-million-a-year trucking program has been charged with allegedly accepting bribes from a truck owner to steer city contracts to the private business, the Associated Press reported.
Under the Hired Truck Program, Chicago hires privately owned firms to haul materials at work sites overseen by several city departments. Chicago’s use of the program drives down the cost of construction projects. About 165 city-approved companies participate in the program, which spends nearly $40 million each year, according to the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper.
Angelo Torres was the director of the city's Hired Truck Program from 2001 until Dec. 1, 2003. According to the criminal complaint, a truck owner allegedly gave Torres $400 in September 2001, which Torres allegedly said could result in $50,000 of truck work for the owner, according to the Associated Press.
After this initial meeting, the owner was offered work by the city. The owner also allegedly gave Torres another $400 payment in October 2001 and at least three other payments in 2002, prosecutors said.
If convicted, Torres faces up to 20 years in prison with a fine of $250,000.