The owner of a Chicago-area construction company, Alex Nitchoff, 56, has been charged with one count of conspiracy to bribe a Cook County public official and two counts of using a facility in interstate commerce to facilitate the acts of bribery.
According to the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, between 2016 and June 2019, Nitchoff, of Lemont, is alleged to have conspired with others to bribe Lavdim Memisovski, a commercial group leader at the Cook County assessor’s office. Memisovski assessed property values for Cook County commercial properties and reviewed property tax appeals for commercial properties.
Prosecutors say Nitchoff and others gave Memisovski home improvement materials and services, as well as contracts for electrical work, jewelry, meals, tickets to sporting events and other items, with the purpose of influencing Memisovski in his work as commercial group leader.
In return, prosecutors allege, Memisovski made sure that appeals of property assessments related to Nitchoff and his business associates were routed to him so he could extend deadlines for the filing of appeals and reduce assessed property values.
Nitchoff is facing a possible sentence of up to five years in federal prison for the bribery charge. Each charge of using a facility of interstate commerce can carry up to five years in federal prison.
As part of a grand jury criminal probe into former 34th Ward Ald. Carrie Austin, a 2019 subpoena sought information on records relating to several interrelated companies and their officers, including 995 LLC, Koal Enterprises, Mako Properties Inc., Maxwell Services and, importantly, Oakk Construction, of which Nitchoff was president.
In March 2021, former Chicago city inspector Joseph Garcia pleaded guilty to fraud in a case stemming from the federal investigation of Austin. Later that same year, Austin and her chief of staff were indicted on federal bribery charges for allegedly having been given home-improvement perks from a developer seeking to influence them.
As a rehab specialist for the city, Garcia had falsely claimed to have inspected homes supposedly worked on by “Company A” and found the work completed as required, according to his plea agreement with prosecutors. The city then paid the company up to $100,000 for replaced porches when the work hadn’t actually been done, according to the plea. Back in 2021, the Tribune confirmed “Company A” was Nitchoff’s Oakk Construction.