Cook County Commissioner Jeffrey Tobolski, a Democrat whose 16th District includes all of North Riverside and portions of Brookfield and Riverside, will resign his post on the county board at the end of the month. In addition, Tobolski will resign as mayor of the village of McCook, the Landmark has learned.
On March 6, Tobolski submitted a brief letters of resignation to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and to McCook Village Clerk Charles Sobus. The one-sentence letters gave no reason for Tobolski’s resignations.
In a statement, Preckwinkle’s office had little to add about Tobolski’s unexplained departure.
“The president has received a letter of resignation from 16th District Commissioner Jeffrey Tobolski with an effective date of March 31,” said Natalia Derevyanny, Preckwinkle’s spokesperson, in an email. “Commissioner Tobolski did not state the reason for his resignation and the president is not going to speculate.”
Tobolski, who has served as the commissioner for the Cook County Board’s 16th District since 2010, is also the mayor of the village of McCook, a job he’s held since 2007, when he was appointed to the job on an interim basis. He was first elected in 2009.
Tobolski’s resignation comes on the same day it was revealed that another of his close political allies, William Helm, had been indicted for bribery as part of an ongoing federal investigation into local and state politicians, their associates and their ties to companies whose owners were generous political contributors.
On March 5, federal prosecutors alleged that Helm, a former deputy aviation commissioner for the city of Chicago, gave more than $5,000 in bribes to former state Sen. Martin Sandoval to influence approval of a road construction and traffic signalization project in East Dundee.
Helm is identified in the indictment as having been retained as a consultant by “Company A,” identified only as a “construction company,” to help them obtain Illinois Department of Transportation approval for the East Dundee project.
Sandoval was the former chairman of the Illinois Senate Transportation Committee before being forced from the job after federal agents raided his statehouse and district offices as well as his home in September 2019.
Sandoval resigned his Senate seat at the end of 2019 and pleaded guilty in January to taking $70,000 in bribes in exchange for serving as the red-light camera industry’s “protector” in the Illinois Senate and taking more than $250,000 in bribes in exchange for benefitting the business interests of others.
Part of that guilty plea included a promise to cooperate with federal investigators in their ongoing investigation.
Just days after the feds raided Sandoval’s offices last September, they raided the offices and homes of several other area politicians, including Tobolski, Lyons Village President Christopher Getty, Oakbrook Terrace Mayor Tony Ragucci and others.
Ragucci resigned from his post as Oakbrook Terrace’s mayor in early 2020 after it was reported federal agents had seized $60,000 in cash from a safe in Ragucci’s home. Federal agents also reportedly seized more than $51,000 in cash from a safe in Tobolski’s home.
Helm is the second close ally of Tobolski’s to face indictment. On Feb. 14, federal prosecutors indicted Patrick Doherty, who served as Tobolski’s chief of staff at the county board, for Doherty’s role in a bribery scheme to influence an Oak Lawn trustee to support extending the village’s contract with SafeSpeed LLC, a red-light camera operator also at the center of the federal probe.
In addition to his job with Tobolski, Doherty worked as a “consultant” for SafeSpeed, getting a small percentage cut of ticket revenue collected. Doherty has pleaded not guilty and remains free on bond while awaiting trial.
Helm is set to be arraigned on March 10.
The timetable for replacing Tobolski on the county board has not bene announced. A replacement will be chosen by the committeemen of the 16th District.