By Annie Sweeney Tribune reporter 12:30 a.m. CDT, July 18, 2012
A campaign treasurer for a former state senator, two Cook County corrections officers and four others were snared in an undercover FBI sting in which they paid kickbacks in the hope of securing thousands of dollars in federal grants, according to federal charges unsealed Tuesday.
The sting began in July 2011 when a Chicago police officer who is cooperating because of his own federal troubles approached a longtime friend — the onetime campaign treasurer — about a corrupt federal Health and Human Services Department contact who was passing out grants “like candy.”
Dean Nichols, 62 allegedly took the bait and then involved the others, including two people who were highlighted in a 2008 Tribune investigation of dubious after-school programs funded by controversial state grants, many of them awarded by then-state Sen. Rickey Hendon.
Ex-campaign treasurer for Hendon among 7 charged in FBI sting