(The Center Square) – Audio and video evidence from the “ComEd Four” trial shows how some associates of Michael Madigan were lined up for jobs with the utility, something prosecutors allege was to curry favor from the powerful speaker.
The four on trial in the alleged scheme are Madigan confidant Michael McClain, former ComEd official Anne Prmaggiore, ComEd lobbyist John Hooker and lobbyist Jay Doherty.
In one call from May 8 2018, Pramaggiore tells McClain she’s set to take over as CEO of Exelon utilities.
“I’m only sharing it with a few people, but there’s going to be an announcement, and I did call the speaker this morning and he’s one of the few people who’s in the know,” she said.
An undated recording has McClain talking with Madigan, who’s on trial for the alleged scheme next year, about various associates.
“When you’re with Anne, you’re talking about Mike Zalewski,” Madigan said.
“Mike Zalewski and Juan Ochoa, and Joe Dominguez,” McClain said. “Those are the three.”
“Okay, alright, I think that’s all I got, Mike,” Madigan said.
Other phone call recordings include conversations featuring defendants Jay Doherty and John Hooker also discussing legislation and contracting jobs.
Video evidence also surfaced in the case.
In one undercover video from Feb. 7, 2019, that prosecutors presented to the jury last week, Fidel Marquez, who pleaded guilty in the alleged scheme and is cooperating with prosecutors, is having dinner with defendant McClain. The topic was how to explain contracts for Madigan associates for little- to do-nothing jobs paid for by ComEd.
“It’s a favor, … [Jay] Doherty is the one who has to prove if the IRS ever comes in and says ‘who are these guys and what do they do,’” McClain said. “Doherty’s got to prove that.”
On Feb. 13, 2019, Marquez asked Doherty what the associates do, to which Doherty said “not much.” Doherty explained the deal.
“That just can be answered in Springfield with Madigan,” … “And, to keep Mike Madigan happy, I think it’s worth it, because you’d hear otherwise,” Doherty said.
In a later exchange as video evidence from March 5, 2019, Dominguez, a ComEd CEO, says the $400,000 contract makes sense to deploy Doherty’s resources “at the magic moment” that could result in ComEd profits.
“There are, at periods of time where people are saying, ‘what the hell are these guys doing? Why are we paying them?’ and then they will do something in the minute, in the magic moment,” Dominguez said.
“That’s worth a hundred times what you’re paying them,” Marquez said.
“Yeah, right, right,” Dominguez said. “So, we’re going, it’s going forward.”
All four defendants have pleaded not guilty. The trial continues this week.
This article First appeared in the center square