Jannah Theme License is not validated, Go to the theme options page to validate the license, You need a single license for each domain name.

Accused Ald. Ed Burke will not seek a 14th term

Ald. Ed Burke will end his career as the longest-serving alderman in Chicago history.

Struggle a a sweeping federal corruption chargealderman, who has represented the 14th Ward on the Southwest Side for more than half a century, declined to file nominating petitions before Monday’s deadline, meaning his current 13th term on the City Council will be his last.

Earlier in September, his wife, Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Anne Burke, said that would resign off the bench in late November.

Burke’s reign as alkhavik since 1969 his ward, near Midway Airport, has seen a demographic shift from a mix of working-class Irish and Eastern Europeans to an overwhelmingly Latino constituency. Those changes, and the specter of high-profile accusations that he abused his considerable power, did little to ensure he would win if he chose to run again.

But it would be unreasonable to calculate it.

Burke, 78, long stood at the peak of the historic machine era of Chicago politics, is practiced with handshakes and arm-twisting in downtown offices and restaurants. He ran his ward and wielded considerable power over the city’s purse strings, chairing the Chicago City Council’s finance committee for decades.

Long successful real estate tax attorney, Burke for years engaged in a lucrative outside business drafting property tax appeals for businesses, wealthy Chicagoans and other political insiders, often conflicting with his duties on the City Council. The dual roles forced him to compile long annual disclosure lists of economic interests, including detailing the firms for which his law firm did business and also had cases before city officials.

Burke often aabstained from voting in commissions and in the council because his firm represented businesses that could be affected by City Council votes — even after presiding over committee hearings that discussed the issues.

The dual roles, documented by news organizations and criticized by reformers for years, have become the focus of federal investigators. And in 2019 Burke was charged on corruption charges alleging that he used his City Hall influence to solicit work at his law firm and other favors from companies and individuals doing business with the city.

Burke has He did not plead guilty on a 14-count indictment against him that includes racketeering, federal program bribery, attempted extortion, conspiracy to commit extortion and use of interstate commerce in furtherance of illegal activity.

Burke and two co-defendants, longtime aide Peter Andrews and developer Charles Cui, the trial is scheduled for November 6, 2023at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse.

In a status report filed Monday, federal prosecutors said they turned over nearly 9,000 recorded calls from Burke’s wiretapping between May 2017 and February 2018, “consisting of hundreds of hours of recorded conversations,” far more than was before. revealed.

Most recently, prosecutors turned over material to Burke’s attorneys that could be used to try to impeach or discredit the prosecution’s main witness, former Ald. Daniel Solis, according to the document. These productions included 90 video recordings of meetings with Solis totaling approximately 108 hours, as well as 34,000 recorded phone calls and 20,000 text messages.

Before the indictment, Burke was perhaps best known as one of the chief architects of the race Military Council, in which a bloc of white aldermen led by him and then-Ald. Ed Vrdolyak feuded with Harold Washington in the mid-1980s, often blocking initiatives by Chicago’s first black mayor in a years-long battle that brought the city council national prominence.

But his political power survived that era.

Ald.  Ed Burke, 14, leaves the Dirksen Courthouse in Chicago on June 4, 2019, after being indicted on several federal corruption charges.

Mayor Richard M. Daley and Rahm Emanuel largely supported an uneasy détente with Burke, allowing him to serve as chairman of the Finance Committee. Each mayor has come to rely on the alderman to help advance his agenda by improving council processes and cajoling or threatening colleagues into compliance.

In his role as finance committee, Burke oversaw the city’s workers compensation program. He kept the program tightly secret during more than three decades of near-continuous control over the committee, resisting attempts by the city’s inspector general to investigate the program’s operations.

In 2012, a federal grand jury subpoenaed Burke’s finance committee to turn over documents related to a “disability” program that paid $115 million to disabled city workers in 2011 alone, according to the documents The Chicago Tribune received at the time.

The 2012 subpoenas came about a week after city Inspector General Joseph Ferguson, a former federal prosecutor, announced that Burke’s committee had rejected his attempts to obtain many of the same records.

In early 2019, Burke resigned as chairman of the Finance Committee following the FBI raids that led to the current indictment against him. Still, Burke won a 13th term as alderman despite the federal case and the fact that Southwestern progressive powerhouse U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chewy” Garcia endorsed one of the two Latinos Burke faced in the most Latin Americans.

One of his most important political contributions to Chicago may have been the federal raids on his offices. On a November morning in 2018, Laurie Lightfoot was struggling to get ahead in a crowded field of several better-funded and better-known mayoral contenders when FBI agents taped up Burke’s office windows and removed computers and boxes of records.

But in the months that followed, Lightfoot blasted other candidates for their political, financial and personal ties to Burke, promising to “bring light” to city government.

“It seems like all these other people are looking for cover and don’t want to talk about it, but frankly, it highlights the fact that we have different factions of the political machine that are manifested in (Mayor candidates Susan) Mendoza, (Tony) ) Preckwinkle, (Bill) Daley and (Gary) Chico and others who don’t want to rock the boat because they’re very attached to the status quo,” Lightfoot told the Tribune days after the federal raids on Burke’s offices. “It’s telling that they don’t want to come forward and say, ‘Look, this guy’s been in office too long, he’s been allowed to accumulate too much power.’

Chicagoans’ anger at Burke’s alleged misdeeds and the large spread of power in the city helped Lightfoot win the election in a landslide.

The years after Lightfoot’s victory took on a different role for Burke, who had long been accustomed to being one of the most influential people in the state and a link of power on the City Council. As mayor, Lightfoot was openly at odds with the alderman, whose reduced power removed the danger of crossing him.

Burke’s regular appearances at the City Council on Chicago History became a rarity. More often than not, he sits quietly in the 14th Ward seat at the edge of the floor, rather than in the central position near the mayor reserved for the chairman of the finance committee, where he has long welcomed his colleagues to speak quietly with him, and many have asked for his favors while the council meeting continued.

Ald.  Edward Burke, 14, at City Hall in Chicago for a special meeting on Mayor Lori Lightfoot's COVID-19 vaccine for city workers on March 16, 2022.

Lightfoot referred to some of her antagonists on the council as “Ed Burke’s stooges”, which in itself speaks to his enduring reputation as a shrewd backroom operator, as well as the fact that he was one of the main architects of the Row Wars of the 1980s and a council tactician. known for his ability to use the body’s secret rules to baffle his opponents, did little to attempt to challenge her publicly.

The mayor used her anti-Burke campaign rhetoric and the charges he faces as a springboard to push to remove business zoning requests from the hands of local aldermen. Her efforts have led to some modest changes and have played a central role in her bitter relationship with some other council members, who argue they should retain the authority to make such decisions in the districts they represent.

A year before he won his first congressional election, Burke was elected as the 14th District Democratic Committeeman in 1968, succeeding his father, Ald. Joseph P. Burke died of lung cancer while in office. The younger Burke has held that post in the Democratic Party ever since.

A hearing on the criminal charges against Burke is scheduled for Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall. She took over the case two months ago after U.S. District Judge Robert Doe announced he was leaving to take a job on the U.S. Supreme Court.


Related Articles

Back to top button