By Bob Bong
A Worth Township trustee was charged Monday for failing to file an income tax return for 2018.
Richard Lewandowski, 61, of Palos Heights, was named in a criminal information with one misdemeanor count of failing to file a return. The charge carries up to one year in prison.
Defendants who are charged via an information, instead of a grand jury indictment, typically intend to plead guilty. No court date had been scheduled for Lewandowski. He did not return a phone call asking for comment.
Lewandowski has served as a Worth Township trustee since 2013 and he has filed to run for re-election in April on the Community First Party slate.
He is president of Breaker Press, a Chicago-based printing company in the Pilsen neighborhood that has done printing for a number of Democratic candidates over the past decade including House Speaker Michael Madigan, Chicago Ald. Marty Quinn (13th) and former state Sen. Martin Sandoval, who died last month of COVID-19 complications.
The complaint contained little information, but it was filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Amarjeet Bhachu, who has been heading the investigation into political corruption involving Safe Speed red-light cameras that snared Sandoval, who pleaded guilty to corruption, former Worth Township Supervisor John O’Sullivan, who resigned last year but has not been charged with any crime, Crestwood Mayor Lou Presta, who was indicted for taking bribes and lying to the FBI, and Patrick Doherty, of Palos Heights, who was also indicted for accepting bribes.
Doherty was a former chief of staff for former McCook Mayor and Cook County Commissioner Jeff Tobolski, who was indicted and pleaded guilty last year to taking bribes in the red-light camera scandal.
Bhachu also is leading the investigation into Madigan’s involvement in corruption over Commonwealth Edison as well as Chicago Ald. Ed Burke’s racketeering case.
Lewandowski was at the center of another political controversy two years ago after allegedly defamatory flyers printed by Breaker Press were released attacking McHenry County Clerk Joe Tirio during the March 2018 primary.
The flyers, one with a digitally altered image of Tirio wearing a burglar’s mask, were circulated to thousands of McHenry County addresses. The attack ads called Tirio, who ultimately won the election, a “crook” and accused him of stealing from a private slush fund, hiring “cronies” and acquainting himself with an alleged child predator and racists. Each referred to Tirio as “Crooked Joe.”
Tirio later sued. In December 2018, after a judge held him in contempt of court and was prepared to jail him , Lewandowski named Chicago Democratic political operatives Michael Noonan and Sean Tenner as those behind the mailings.
According to his biography on the Worth Township website, Lewandowski has lived in Palos Heights for 11 years.
The bio says he helped youth as a coach and director for Westside Baseball in Oak Lawn for 10 years. He served the Ashburn Civic Homeowners Association for five years in Chicago, three of those as vice president.