A former Chicago alderman and a former Cook County Commissioner were arrested Thursday on federal corruption charges.
Ambrosio Medrano, who previously served as Chicago’s 25th Ward alderman, and former 7th District Commissioner Joseph Mario Moreno were among seven defendants in court on charges they accepted kickbacks to sell bandages to public hospitals, including John H. Stroger Jr., Hospital of Cook County.
Moreno is also accused of accepting a $5,000 bribe to ensure development of a waste transfer station in Cicero.
“Mr. Moreno is aware of the seriousness of the allegations. He looks forward to having the matter resolved in court and he will really have nothing more to say,” said attorney Richard Kling.
Medrano, handcuffed and wearing a short-sleeved shirt in his appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Young B. Kim, was taken into federal custody. Moreno was dressed in a suit and was not in handcuffs. He was ordered held on $250,000 bail.
“We want him to be treated the same way they treat the other defendants. Obviously the government’s taking a different position with him, perhaps because he has a prior,” said Medrano defense attorney John DeLeon.
Moreno unsuccessfully ran for mayor of Cicero back in 2001. He was elected to the Cook County Board of Commissioners in 1994 and was ousted in 2010.
Medrano was first elected to the Chicago City Council in 1991. Five years later, he was the first conviction in the Operation Silver Shovel investigation. He pleaded guilty to bribery charges after being confronted by officials who had him on video accepting $1,000 from a city contractor.
In all, the feds said he accepted $31,000 in bribes to help secure illegal dump sites in black and Hispanic neighborhoods, The New York Times explained in a 1996 report.
Medrano was among six Chicago alderman and a dozen other officials convicted. He served a 30 month sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Oxford, Wis.
“I took responsibility for what I did and I still take responsibility for what I did. I don’t look forward to a pardon; it won’t erase what I did,” Medrano told The Chicago Reporter back in 2001.
Medrano made an unsuccessful attempt to reclaim his aldermanic seat in 2003. He tried again four years later, but the Illinois Supreme Court derailed the campaign because of the conviction.
He was most recently working as a music promoter, his attorney said.