Body shop owner John Szybkowski was involved in a billing scam that shook up the Chicago Police Department (CPD) in the 1980s, but a Chicago Sun-Times investigation recently revealed that since the scandal passed, Szybkowski’s shop has performed $11 million in fleet work for the CPD.
In 1981, Szybkowski, owner of Central Auto Body Shop, was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in the multi-million dollar scandal. He admitted in federal court to submitting roughly $50,000 in false work, which members of the police department approved. Szybkowski shared the profits from the scheme with members of the CPD, the Sun-Times says.
Now, Szybkowski repairs around 20 city vehicles a month and has received around $11 million in city business dating back to at least 1993, according to the newspaper. When the Sun-Times informed the city about Szybkowski’s past, Mayor Richard Daley suspended city Fleet Management Commissioner Mike Picardi, who hired Szybkowski, for three months without pay.
Daley also vowed to close a loophole in the city’s vendor hiring practices that allowed Szybkowski to be rehired. Currently, the city is required to look back only five years for past felony convictions before agreeing to a contract, the Sun-Times says.
Szybkowski said that despite his past, his dealings with the city today are on the up-and-up.
“Shucks, I learned my lesson,” he told the Sun-Times. “I made a mistake, I paid my dues.”
Read the full story from the Chicago Sun-Times