A Naperville businessman with ties to Forest Park faces up to 10 years in prison and could be fined up to $250,000 after he was caught in a bribery scheme offering a Chicago alderman $100,000 in exchange for concession contracts at O’Hare and Midway airports.
Wafeek “Wally” Aiyash, 51, is the property manager of the 12-unit condo development and two storefronts at 7509 W. Madison St., which replaced the long-vacant Masonic building in 2005.
He recently pleaded guilty to attempting to bribe Ike Carothers, the now convicted former alderman of Chicago’s West Side 29th Ward. The bribe attempt was made in 2008 in an effort to secure the contracts for seven franchise restaurants at the city’s airports. Carothers was cooperating with police at the time and wore a hidden wire to record Aiyash during their meetings, according to court documents.
Court documents also show that, unrelated to the tape recorded incident, Aiyash had also previously given Carothers $40,000 to $50,000 in cash in 2007 to influence the alderman in certain property development deals.
Aiyash, who was released on a $20,000 bond, is president of the real estate company, WJ Management. The company was awarded the Good Neighbors Award from the Chicago Association of Realtors five years in a row for improving property quality in Austin and Chicago, according to WJ Management’s web site.
Debbie Rogers, Aiyash’s sister and administrator at his company, said that Aiyash recently returned from the hospital and would not be available for comment.
In regards to the property in Forest Park, she said, “He did a complete rehab of the building and did a phenomenal job. There are lots of people going in and out, a lot of young couples and a lot of young professionals. I think it’s a dynamite building.”
Mayor Anthony Calderone had this to say about the case: “It is what it is. He was caught on tape.”
Calderone noted that Aiyash’s connection to Forest Park was “very, very little.”
“No more, no less than any other person who has developed a piece of property here,” he said.