A former general contractor was sentenced to 5 years of probation today December 13, 2010 in federal court. Padraig Gravin pled guilty to bribery charges on March 2, 2010 for trying to pay a $500 bribe to a City official. The bribe was meant to secure a favorable inspection related to the issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy for a building located at 2827 West Congress Parkway.
In addition, the Court imposed six months of house arrest and a $5,000 fine.
Gravin’s plea agreement detailed that in October 2007, he gave a $500 payment to a permit expediter. This money was to be used to bribe for a City inspector in order to receive a favorable inspection for a Certificate of Occupancy at the 2827 West Congress Parkway property. Gravin was unaware that the expediter was already cooperating with law enforcement. After taking the money at a Chicago area gas station, the expediter gave Gravin the Certificate of Occupancy, which was estimated to be worth $455,000.
A joint City of Chicago Office of Inspector General, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) investigation revealed that Gravin attempted to bribe City inspectors on at least six other occasions. As part of his plea agreement, Gravin said that he had paid $69,200 in bribes for City inspectors.
The sentencing is part of an ongoing federal corruption investigation, code-named Operation Crooked Code involving extensive cooperation between OIG, USPIS, FBI, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. To date, there have been twenty one individuals convicted under Operation Crooked Code, fifteen of whom are current or former City employees.
“In collaboration with our federal law enforcement partners, the OIG will continue to be vigilant in working to put end to this sort of subversion of the City’s inspections process,” Inspector General Joseph Ferguson said in response to today’s sentencing.
The government was represented by Assistant United States Attorneys April Perry and Steven Grimes before Judge David Coar of the U.S. District Court of Northern Illinois.
Anyone with information about alleged corruption in the City permit process is encouraged to contact the Inspector General’s Office either through its hotline – (866) 448-4754, or through its web site.