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Chicago Ald. Howard Brookins Jr.'s chief of staff charged with bribery

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Curtis V. Thompson Jr., Chicago Alderman Howard Brookins Jr.’s chief of staff, was charged with accepting a $7,500 bribe as part of a corruption probe conducted by undercover authorities, according to a Chicago Tribune report on Friday.

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The FBI claims that Thompson accepted a bribe from an individual who falsely asserted that he was opening a convenience store and also said that he wanted a liquor license. Truth be told, however, the person was an undercover agent for the federal authorities.

According to the report, Thompson was to get a supportive letter from the alderman for the liquor license. 62-year-old Thompson appeared in court on Friday afternoon and was released on his own recognizance regarding the bribery charge.

Allegedly, the undercover agent gave Thompson a note which said “$7,500 to the Ald. For L.O.S. (letter of support).” After receiving the note, Thompson said, “OK. I understand. I understand.” Then Thompson said that he would bring the letter of support for the liquor license up to Alderman Brookins.

The alderman was present at two meetings – one in October and one in November – when Thompson met with the undercover agent. The convenience store was discussed at those meetings.

At a meeting held on October 29, the undercover agent passed a note to Brookins that said, “12K to you for letter of support” and the note was then passed to another unidentified man and finally to Thompson. At a November 19 meeting, Brookins supposedly was agreeable to the letter or support – and even offered to send as many letters of support as the undercover agent needed for the liquor license.

The FBI claims that the undercover agent was then solicited to co-sponsor Brookins’ Christmas party and to donate to Brookins’ holiday toy drive.

The informant received a letter of support – on Brookins’ letterhead and signed in Brookins’ name – on December 10. The letter of support was addressed to the 7-11 convenience store corporate.

The letter stated:

Please allow this letter to serve as my full support for a 7-Eleven convenience store. This store will be a welcomed addition to (the alderman’s community and those that patronize the area for shopping and convenience needs. As well as wine and spirits (alcohol).

Thompson took this note from the undercover agent, looked at it, placed it in a jacket pocket, and said, “Thanks.”

Brookins ran for Cook County state’s attorney six years ago but lost.

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