Chicago truck company owner charged in $10,000 bribe case

| 8/2/2002

The owner of a Chicago trucking company was charged July 31 with offering a $10,000 bribe to a federal inspector in hopes of avoiding an unsatisfactory safety rating for his fleet of trucks and his drivers, AP reports.

Dejan Zlatkovic, 26, of Morton Grove was ordered held without bond. Zlatkovic is president of ATA Transport Inc., which operates a fleet of 70 trucks. Federal officials said a U.S. Transportation Department safety review of KGB Transport Inc., which was then owned by Zlatkovic, was conducted between March and May and resulted in an "unsatisfactory" rating.

Inspectors reported problems involving KGB's driver logs, drug testing, insurance and truck maintenance. Zlatkovic later bought ATA and combined it with KGB under the ATA name, according to federal officials. They said a safety inspection of the combined company began this month. When an unsatisfactory rating appeared to be the likely result, Zlatkovic said he knew a certain government official and offered $10,000 to the safety inspector if the rating could be raised to "conditional." Federal officials said the inspector first said no. But after reporting the incident to higher-ups, he came back and "revisited" the issue of the $10,000, government officials said. They said the inspector was secretly recording the conversation as Zlatkovic agreed to pay off. At a rendezvous that night, prosecutors said, Zlatkovic handed the inspector $10,000 in $100 bills in return for a false conditional rating. Prosecutors declined to name the government official Zlatkovic allegedly told the inspector he knew.