The Associated Press reported today that two Chicago city officials were charged yesterday for exchanging assignments under the city’s Hired Truck Program, (which contracts trucking services during municipal construction projects) for campaign contributions and bribes.
The two employees, Gerald Wesolowski, supervisor of the city’s water department, and John E. Boyle, an engineer in the city’s transportation department, were charged with mail fraud and bribery in the $38 million program, AP reported.
The Hired Truck Program has been marred with a history of corruption. In late January, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley initiated a reform of the program after the Chicago Sun-Times reported some of the carriers did little to no work under the program and yet got paid. Former Hired Truck Program director Angelo Torres was arrested for attempted extortion that month.
“The two employees have been terminated,” stated Daley. “When abuses in the Hired Truck Program were brought to my attention last January, I appointed City Auditor Bob Benson to head up a team to make whatever changes were necessary to reform the program.”
TheChicago Sun-Times reported Boyle allegedly demanded from some carriers $6,000 per year for every truck, and from one firm collected $100,000 between 2001 and 2003. A trucking company alleged it provided Wesolowski bi-weekly payments of $1,300.
The indictment papers were not available at press time.