Hired truck plea opens possibility of more charges

| 6/24/2005

Another arrest in Chicago’s Hired Truck investigation could lead to a new string of charges in a second city department.

On Thursday, June 23, retired city water department employee Flenory Barnes Sr. pleaded guilty to mail fraud, the Chicago Tribune reported. According to media reports, Barnes admitted to acting as the “bagman” for Donald Tomczak, former deputy superintendent for the city’s Water Department.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Barnes said he split almost $100,000 in bribes with Tomczak from trucking companies seeking repeated city work with the corrupt program.

Barnes also said he worked on several political campaigns, including that of mayor Richard M. Daley, and that city employees were given overtime hours, raises and promotions based on how much help they gave to the campaigns. A spokesperson for Daley’s office told the Sun-Times that Daley “deplores” such political activity.

Barnes – the 16th guilty plea in the ongoing investigation, which has so far charged 27 people – also alluded to additional corruption in the city’s sewer department, which merged with the water department in 2003. Because of his plea agreement, he is expected to serve 16 months in prison after his sentencing in September, the Sun-Times said.