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State Sen. Martin Sandoval Resigns As Transportation Committee Chair As Senate Democrats Release Unredacted Search Warrant From FBI Raid

by Todd Feurer, CBS Chicago web producer

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Illinois State Sen. Martin Sandoval resigned as chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee on Friday, as the Illinois Senate released the unredacted copy of a federal search warrant served on his state capitol office last month.

According to that warrant, federal agents who raided Sandoval's office in Springfield on Sept. 24 were searching for evidence related to red light camera company SafeSpeed, ComEd and parent company Exelon, Cook County Commissioner and McCook Village President Jeff Tobolski, businessman Michael Vondra, video gambling company Gold Rush Gaming, and several unnamed Illinois Department of Transportation officials.

Illinois Senate Democrats on Friday released an unredacted version of the search warrant federal investigators served during last month's raid at the Illinois State Capitol. Senate Democrats earlier had released a heavily redacted copy of the search warrant.

Hours after the unredacted warrant was released, Senate Democrats confirmed Sandoval had stepped down as Transportation Committee chairman. No new chair has been named.

According to the warrant, federal authorities were seeking "items related to any official action taken in exchange for a benefit" during their search of Sandoval's office. According to a receipt provided after the raid, agents seized three computers, an iPad, five iPhones, seven USB drives, a Sandoval campaign spreadsheet, and several other items.

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Among other names and companies listed on the warrant, the feds sought information connected to real estate developer Vahooman "Shadow" Mirkhaef; Cub Terminal LLC, a truck and container storage facility in McCook; a firm identified only as "Concrete Company A," Puentes Inc., Sandoval's public relations firm; a cigar lounge in Countryside; an unnamed construction company; and an unnamed highway company.

The warrant also lists two unidentified lobbyists and an unnamed cooperating witness.

Just days after the raid on Sandoval's office, federal agents also raided the village halls in west suburban McCook – where Tobolski is mayor – and Lyons, as well as the insurance company owned by the family of Lyons Mayor Christopher Getty. The same day as those raids, the feds also visited the village hall in Summit.

The Sandoval warrant paints a picture of a wide-ranging investigation of the senator and his associates.

Vondra and his businesses have made campaign contributions to Sandoval, his daughter Angie, and many other Illinois lawmakers.

Gold Rush Gaming is a major video gambling company owned by Rick Heidner. According to published reports, Heidner also is a co-owner of Playing in the Park LLC, which recently won approval for 12 harness racing dates at a proposed racing track and casino in Tinley Park in December 2020.

Gold Rush did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.

ComEd and Exelon also recently received a grand jury subpoena for "records of any communications" with Sandoval, according to their most recent SEC filing.

A Com Ed representative said Thursday that the company intends to comply with any and all inquiries, and they've formed a special oversight committee to oversee it.

Sandoval is a member of the Energy and Public Utilities committee, and his relationship with Com Ed goes back to 2007.

Since then, his campaign has received $26,250 in donations, making him one of the top 25 recipients of Com Ed donations during that period.

Neither Sandoval nor anyone named in the warrant has been charged with a crime.

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