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Summit police chief, public works director charged in liquor-license bribery scheme tied to larger corruption probe

The police chief and public works director in southwest suburban Summit have been charged with conspiring to take more than $5,000 in bribes from a bar operator to grease a liquor license transfer in the village five years ago and then attempting to cover it up.

John Kosmowski, 54, of Lockport, and William Mundy, 59, of Summit, were each charged with one count of bribery conspiracy in an indictment made public Wednesday in U.S. District Court.

Kosmowski, who earns about $225,000 a year as police chief and has worked for the Summit Police Department for more than 30 years, was also charged with one count each of bribery and obstruction of justice.

Mundy, who doubles as a building inspector and earns a $117,000-a-year salary, is charged with one count of filing a false tax return.

Arraignments had yet to be scheduled, and it was not known as of Wednesday afternoon if Kosmowski or Mundy had hired attorneys. Messages left for both defendants in Summit were not immediately returned.

The indictment alleged Kosmowksi and Mundy conspired to accept more than $5,000 from the businessman in 2017 in exchange for helping secure the transfer of a liquor license to another person.

According to the charges, Kosmowski received a cash payment from the businessman on March 23, 2017, and then gave Mundy a portion of it.

Two months ago, after being made aware of a grand jury investigation into the payment, Kosmowski met with Mundy in nearby Justice to tell him the government would be “indicting soon” and that it “was going to be their version against ours,” according to the indictment.

During the meeting, Kosmowski tried to persuade Mundy to lie about the payment by saying it was a loan, the indictment stated.

While the businessman is not named in the charges, public records and sources confirm he is Mariano Martinez, the clout-heavy owner of several suburban businesses who pleaded guilty in 2019 to selling a kilogram of heroin to a man in a Berwyn laundromat for $50,000.

As part of his guilty plea, Martinez admitted to paying bribes to two Summit officials, who at the time were not named in court records.

The charges are an offshoot of a larger corruption probe that netted the now-indictment Chicago Ald. Edward Burke and then-state Sen. Martin Sandoval, who pleaded guilty to separate bribery charges before he died of COVID-19 in December 2020.

Agents conducted “investigative activity” at the Summit Village Hall on Sept. 26, 2019, the same day that federal law enforcement raided the government offices in nearby McCook and Lyons as part of a sprawling public corruption investigation.

In addition, Summit Mayor Sergio Rodriguez and Public Works Director Bill Mundy were both named in the FBI search warrant served on Sandoval’s Springfield office two days earlier, records show.

Martinez, meanwhile, who has ties to a longtime political operative for both Burke and Sandoval, Martinez cooperated with prosecutors and was sentenced last year to 18 months in prison. Before that, he ran Mars Bar, in the 6000 block of South Harlem Avenue in Summit, and also owned car washes and other businesses in the area.

Prosecutors previously revealed in Martinez’s 20-page plea deal that Martinez was secretly recorded in a 2017 phone call with a Summit public official — identified only as Summit Official B — talking about bribing an elected official in exchange for help with Martinez’s business. The elected official was identified as Summit Official A.

In all, Martinez admitted to paying at least $6,500 in bribes to the two officials since 2014 in exchange for favorable action for one of his businesses, according to the plea agreement.

Martinez, who is originally from Berwyn, has been active in local politics and is a longtime associate of Rudy Acosta, a top precinct captain for Burke, Martinez’s lawyer, Dennis Doherty, wrote in a 2019 court filing.

Acosta pleaded guilty to misleading the FBI in a series of interviews in 2017 and 2018 about its investigation into Sandoval and other elected officials.

His son, Rudy Jr., is currently facing federal drug conspiracy charges alleging he distributed large amounts of narcotics in the Chicago area for Mexican cartel members.

Sandoval pleaded guilty in 2020 to taking bribes from a red-light camera company executive and was cooperating with federal prosecutors until his death in December from COVID-19 complications.

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