Sun Times - Ald. Edward M. Burke pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges in a political corruption indictment.
Burke faces detailed allegations in a sweeping 59-page indictment, accusing Burke of using the city of Chicago as a criminal “enterprise.”
The hearing forced into the open Burke’s political operative, Peter Andrews, who has served Burke for decades and helped circulate petitions for the alderman’s successful re-election campaign this year.
Ed Burke was at the center of Chicago news for a good chunk at the start of 2019. In sum, he’s the longest tenured city councilman (think Congress for your city) in Chicago history and has a noted reputation for being a Rat Fuck that would shake down his grandmother before mowing her lawn.
In more complex terms, he’s used his position as a Chicago Alderman to funnel untold millions of dollars of contracts to his own property tax law firm. It sounds blatantly corrupt because it is. I blogged about the juicy details here and here as well as a full podcast on Dog Walk with Ed.
The short end of it is that another member of the city council wore a wire to get dirt on Ed Burke because, more or less, everyone worth their salt hates his fucking guts
The indictment last week accused Burke of using his powerful position to steer business to his private tax law firm amid schemes that involved the Old Main Post Office, a Burger King at 41st Street and Pulaski Road, and a redevelopment project on the Northwest Side.
These are your classic shakedowns. You can do your project when I get a 5-figure donation to my re-election campaign. It’s a trash move from a trash politician, but definitely not enough to cause a riot.
For that you need to be handing out favors to people the public can easily hate, like another career Alderman that ended up resigning away his post.
Burke is also accused of trying to block an admission fee hike at the Field Museum, all because he wasn’t getting an answer about a museum internship for the daughter of former Ald. Terry Gabinski.
To be clear, this wasn’t because he was told No. It’s because he was told I Don’t Know.
And to be even more clear: we’re talking about the fucking Field Museum here guys.
The indictment showcases the undercover work of former Ald. Danny Solis, who wore a wire as a secret federal informant. And it reveals that, by August 2018, authorities had recorded more than 62,000 of Burke’s phone calls.
62,000 calls is about 60 phone calls a day, every day, for 3 years. Life insurance sales guys don’t blow that many calls. Just unreal production from a 75 year old.
Amid the Post Office scheme, the feds allegedly caught Burke uttering unforgettable lines like, “the cash register has not rung yet” and “did we land . . . the tuna?”
Did We Land The Tuna? – Ed Burke quoting Big Cat
Mayor Lori Lightfoot quickly called on Burke to resign.
This is where the story actually gets most serious for Burke because as long as he’s Alderman (a publicly elected position) then he’s got a strong argument against him being a bad guy. Regardless of what the evidence says, the community elects him every 4 years like clockwork including this year while under federal indictment. Even then he won 55% of the vote. So he can always fall back on that, just probably not enough to stay clean.
You don’t go this far not to make an example out of someone
Stunningly, the indictment also alleges that Burke used the city of Chicago as a criminal “enterprise” as part of the racketeering charge — a law first devised decades ago to combat mobsters and organized crime.
And you DEFINITELY don’t drop the phrase “criminal enterprise” in the indictment without wanting blood. So my guess is Ed Burke is about as fucked now as anyone who’s ever needed favor from him before.