Worth Township trustee who has printed political material for top Dems, including Speaker Madigan, hit with federal tax charge

Jason Meisner and Ray Long, Chicago Tribune

A Worth Township trustee who’s printed political mailers for many top Democrats was hit with a federal tax charge Monday.

Richard Lewandowski, of Palos Heights, was charged in a one-count criminal information with failing to file an income tax return in 2018.

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 as of Monday. His lawyer could not be reached for comment.

Lewandowski, who has served as a trustee in Worth Township since 2013, is closely allied with John O’Sullivan. He’s a former state representative and ally of House Speaker Michael Madigan who resigned as Worth Township supervisor last year amid the investigation involving red light camera company SafeSpeed.

O’Sullivan was subpoenaed by federal prosecutors about the SafeSpeed probe in 2019, shortly after agents raided the offices of then-Democratic state Sen. Martin Sandoval and a host of suburban mayors as part of a sprawling probe. O’Sullivan has not been charged with wrongdoing.

Lewandowski also is the president of Breaker Press, a Pilsen-based printing company that has received millions of dollars for printing services from politicians dating back to at least 2011. That includes more than $100,000 from Friends of Michael J. Madigan for the speaker himself and dozens of candidates, ranging from rank-and-file House Democrats to his hand-picked 13th Ward Ald. Marty Quinn.

The Madigan campaign committee also paid several thousand dollars to Breaker Press on behalf of Sandoval since 2012. Sandoval has represented part of Madigan’s House district since then.

Sandoval, who pleaded guilty to corruption and was cooperating with investigators in the sweeping federal case, died last month from COVID-19 complications.

Two years ago, Breaker Press was embroiled in a controversy after allegedly defamatory fliers 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, which were printed by Lewandowski’s Breaker Press.

Noonan is a former aide to Speaker Madigan and a onetime campaign manager for then-Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. Tenner also worked on campaigns for Lisa Madigan.