Link says he's no FBI informant; Crespo to investigate Arroyo charges

by Marni Pyke, Daily Herald

Everyone loves a good spy story, and it's even better if the main character is a little flawed.

Meet Cooperating Witness 1, a state senator who has been an FBI source on bad actors in the General Assembly for three years, authorities say in a federal complaint unsealed Monday.

Cooperating Witness 1 isn't perfect, however. He falsified income tax returns, the FBI found, but continued to cooperate with authorities, resulting in the recent arrest of state Rep. Luis Arroyo on federal bribery charges.

Who is this senator who is unnamed in the complaint against Arroyo? Not me, said Lake County state Sen. Terry Link, who the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times have identified, without naming their sources, as the man who wore a wire and was handed a $2,500 check from Arroyo during a meeting in Skokie.

Authorities charged Chicago Democrat Arroyo, 65, with bribing the unnamed senator in exchange for his backing on gambling expansion legislation.

Arroyo manages Spartacus 3 LLC, a lobbying firm that represented a sweepstakes gambling enterprise, according to Chicago records. He did not respond to a request for comment.

Democrat Link, an influential lawmaker of 22 years from Indian Creek, has been the Senate's point man on gambling for years and was a key figure in passing gambling expansion in June as part of a $45 billion capital program.

Link denied he was the FBI source Monday and on Tuesday told reporters, "I'm not going to continually answer this every day of my life," according to Daily Line reporter Hannah Meisel. He did not reply to Daily Herald requests for comment.

Meanwhile, state Rep. Fred Crespo of Hoffman Estates was appointed by Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan to a bipartisan committee to investigate the charges against Arroyo. The committee holds its first meeting Friday.

"Today, I filed the necessary paperwork initiating the official process of removing Rep. Luis Arroyo from office," Madigan stated.

"I want to make sure it's a fair, transparent process and we get as much information as we can and do it as quickly as possible," Crespo said.