City employee fired one week after guilty plea in Hired Truck case

| 3/22/2006

An employee in Chicago’s city clerk’s office was fired Wednesday, March 22, about a week after he pleaded guilty to bribery charges.

Michael Jones, who pleaded guilty to passing bribes to former City Clerk James Laski as part of the scandal-ridden Hired Truck program, is no longer working for the city. According to the Chicago Tribune, Jones had planned to hang onto his position as long as possible, in order to keep his pension.

On Thursday, March 16, Jones admitted to giving bribes Laski, who pleaded guilty to his own bribery charges Friday, March 17.

According to the Tribune, Jones played a key role in the federal investigation that led to Laski’s implication. Because of his cooperation, he is expected to receive a reduced sentence of one year of home confinement and no jail time, the newspaper reported.

To date, 44 individuals have been charged in the ongoing federal investigation into Hired Truck, in which trucking companies gave bribes and political contributions to city employees in exchange for lucrative contracts with the city. Thirty-four people have pleaded guilty or have been found guilty. Twenty-one people – 17 of whom are city workers – have already been sentenced, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.