Former Markham mayor pleads guilty for part in $300,000 bribery scheme

Former Markham mayor pleads guilty for part in $300,000 bribery scheme

The agreement stated former Markham Mayor David Webb steered city projects to those who bribed him.

David Webb, the former mayor of Markham, Illinois, has pleaded guilty to his part in an alleged $300,000 bribery scheme, according to the Daily Southtown. Webb entered his plea Jan. 18 as part of a deal with federal prosecutors.

Webb pleaded guilty to counts of honest services wire fraud and filing a false tax return, according to the Daily Southtown. Though he has not yet been sentenced, Webb could face seven to nine years behind bars per federal sentencing guidelines. Prosecutors could recommend a shorter sentence if Webb continues to cooperate.

These allegations are especially troubling considering Markham residents bear some of the heaviest property tax burdens in the state.

Webb has agreed to pay more than $331,000 in restitution to the city of Markham, and more than $69,000 to the U.S. Treasury, according to the Daily Southtown.

The former south suburban mayor was indicted in December 2017, and was alleged to have been part of an elaborate $300,000 bribery scheme that included city contractors. These bribery payments took on a variety of forms, including payments through shell companies, campaign contributions, and even cash hidden in coffee cups.

Webb was allegedly paid these bribes in exchange for giving out city contracts for public work. These alleged pay-to-play deals included multimillion-dollar city projects.

“[Webb] used his position as mayor to steer public work in Markham to the contractors and vendors that paid him money,” the plea agreement said, according to the Daily Southtown.

Webb served as the mayor of Markham from 2001 to 2017. And despite Markham’s relatively small size, Webb became an effective fundraiser, taking in more than $1 million since 2000, according to the Daily Southtown.

However, Webb’s departure has not ended appearances of impropriety in Markham city government. A Project Six investigation alleged in December 2017 that Markham’s interim mayor, Markham Alderman Ernest Blevins, illegally had his own salary raised by more than $70,000, in addition to demanding $34,000 in back pay for his time already spent as interim mayor.

Blevins became mayor pro tem following Webb’s retirement and an unconventional city election in which the winning candidate, Roger Agpawa, was not legally allowed to take office thanks to a state law barring convicted felons from holding elected municipal office.

Project Six produced an evidence packet showing email correspondence between Markham city officials discussing the raise. Project Six said the raise was illegal, as there is no evidence that either the city treasurer or the Markham City Council approved the hike in Blevins’ pay.

In the wake of their former mayor’s guilty plea and the allegations against their interim mayor, Markham residents should be especially vigilant against corruption in city government.

Want more? Get stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.

Thank you, we'll keep you informed!