Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) raided the home and offices of Illinois Senator Martin Sandoval, a Loyola alum, Sept. 24 in search of evidence of bribery, theft from programs receiving federal funding, mail and wire fraud, officials said.
Sandoval resigned from his position as the chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee Oct. 11, according to John Patterson, a spokesman for Illinois Senate President and Loyola alum John Cullerton. The resignation occured the same day an unredacted copy of the search warrant for Sandoval’s Springfield office was released by the Illinois Senate.
During the raid on Sandoval’s Springfield office, agents were looking to find information on “items related to any official action taken in exchange for benefit,” according to the previously released redacted warrant. The heavily redacted warrant also listed five Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) employees.
The unredacted search warrant revealed the agents were looking for information pertaining to red light camera company SafeSpeed, ComEd, the gambling industry and several other companies. Cesar Santoy, one of the people named in the warrant, also resigned from his position on the Illinois Tollway Board following the release of the unredacted warrant, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The items seized during the raid included an Apple computer and laptop, five iPhones, a spreadsheet from December 2017 called “Friends of Martin Sandoval” and a file labeled “IDOT,” according to the warrant. FBI special agent and public affairs officer Siobhan Johnson said the raids were “court authorized law activity.”
Loyola’s administration is unable to comment on an ongoing law enforcement investigation, according to Sarah Howell, a spokesperson for Loyola.
As the chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, Sandoval disagreed with IDOT — an agency mentioned in the search and seizure warrant — over the use of recycled asphalt shingles in road construction, said Jordan Abudayyeh, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s press secretary. She said Sandoval supported the use of recycled asphalt shingles, while IDOT was against it.
“Senator Sandoval attempted several times to insert his position into the state’s capital bill, but was unsuccessful,” she said.“[Sandoval] also filed his own capital bill, which is not the measure that ultimately became law.”
IDOT hasn’t received a subpoena for records of Sandoval’s communication with its employees, according to Guy Trigdell, IDOT’s director of communications.
Before Sandoval’s resignation, Gov. Pritzker called for Sandoval to be removed or step down from his position as chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. He emphasized the importance of transparency with the public, adding that government officials should uphold the highest levels of integrity, according to a statement Pritzker made to reporters in Oak Lawn Oct. 2.
“Corruption and self-dealing will not be tolerated,” Pritzker said.
Cullerton’s stance towards the ongoing investigation against Sandoval diverged from that of Pritzker, as he chose not to remove Sandoval from the chairman position, despite the ongoing investigation against him, said Patterson.
Patterson told The Phoenix Cullerton found the recent events to be “clearly troubling” but didn’t want to act too quickly, as Sandoval hasn’t been charged with a crime.