FBI Raid at Southwest Suburb Targeted Heating, Air Conditioning At Mayor’s Home

McCook Mayor Jeffrey R. Tobolski WBEZ / cookcounty.il.gov
McCook Mayor Jeffrey R. Tobolski WBEZ / cookcounty.il.gov

FBI Raid at Southwest Suburb Targeted Heating, Air Conditioning At Mayor’s Home

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Updated: 5:00 p.m.

Federal agents who raided the village hall in the tiny but clout-heavy southwest suburb of McCook last month were looking for any records on heating and air conditioning at Mayor Jeff Tobolski’s home, according to court documents obtained Tuesday by WBEZ.

The newly disclosed information also reveals the FBI took documents from the village hall about Police Chief Mario DePasquale and were seeking “items related to” Patrick Doherty. He’s the chief of staff to Tobolski, who is also is a Democratic member of the Cook County Board.

The feds raided McCook’s village hall on Sept. 26, during a week that also saw agents make surprise visits to the municipal offices in the nearby suburb of Lyons and the Springfield and Cicero offices of powerful Democratic state Sen. Martin Sandoval.

Nobody has been charged with wrongdoing in the ongoing probe. McCook’s attorney, Gary Perlman, declined to comment Tuesday..

“The village has as much information as you have now,” Perlman told WBEZ.

The raid at the village hall of McCook – an industrial community where only about 220 people live – targeted the office of Tobolski, and records show agents took two computer servers belonging to him.

But McCook officials originally had sought to hide many names of people and companies from a copy of the search warrant they gave to reporters in response to requests made under the state’s open-records law. WBEZ and the Chicago Sun-Times sued McCook to win access to the blacked-out sections of the search warrant, and village officials relented Tuesday.

Among the information initially blacked out by village officials: The fact that Tobolski’s home was the “residence” whose heating and air conditioning has attraced the feds’ interest.e.

The unredacted records also show the feds sought records pertaining to:

  • “All Star,” an apparent reference to an adult-entertainment club in McCook.

  • Cub Terminal, a truck container business in the town.

  • Michael Thiessen, a former senior vice president at Mesirow Financial who founded his own consulting firm and has worked on The Max — a sports facility also listed in the search warrant.

  • Summit Cold Storage, a refrigerated warehouse in another southwest suburb.

  • Rick Heidner, one of the state’s top operators of video-gambling terminals.

  • Developer Vahooman Mirkhaef.

  • Former Chicago deputy aviation commissioner Bill Helm.

Tobolski, Heidner, Mirkhaef and Helm were among the many people mentioned also in the search warrant agents served at Sandoval’s office at the Illinois Capitol.

Jeff, who answered the phone at the adult entertainment club All Star and refused to provide his last name, said he had “no clue and no comment” when asked why federal agents were seeking documents relating to the company. He hung up on a reporter who asked if he’d been in contact with federal agents.

State records indicate the owner of the bar is George Buenik, who also was named in the search warrant.

No one was immediately available to comment at Summit Cold Storage and Cub Terminal.

After the raid, an FBI agent gave McCook officials a list of the items they were taking. This accounting included documents on DePasquale, the police chief, and an officer named Rob Wells.

Wells once was involved in an off-duty fight with a panhandler at a casino in Joliet, according to a 2016 story by Fox 32 Chicago and the Better Government Association.

DePasquale did not return calls Tuesday.

Doherty, Tobolski’s chief of staff, is a sales consultant for SafeSpeed, one of the top red-light camera companies in the Chicago suburbs, the Sun-Times has reported. SafeSpeed was mentioned in the search warrant in the Sandoval raid.

Dan Mihalopoulos is an investigative reporter for WBEZ. Tony Arnold covers state government for WBEZ. Dave McKinney contributed reporting.