A nationally known corrections expert took part in a scheme to pay $20,000 in bribes to Illinois’ former top prison official to get lucrative state contracts for his lobbying clients, prosecutors argued yesterday in federal court, reports the Chicago Tribune. Michael Mahoney, former head of the John Howard Association, a Chicago-based prison watchdog group, didn’t pay the bribes directly but instead used a business partner as a “bag man,” prosecutors alleged.
Prosecutors say Mahoney and his then-business partner, former Cook County Undersheriff John J. Robinson, won millions of dollars in state contracts for their clients during the corrupt reign of former Illinois Department of Corrections Director Donald Snyder Jr. from 1999 to 2002. “The only person who paid the money is Mr. Robinson,” said Mahoney’s defense attorney. Robinson said one bribe occurred when he and Mahoney met Snyder for breakfast during an American Correctional Association conference. Robinson said he passed the money to Snyder literally “under the table.”