Chicago Alderman Ed Burke Charged with Extortion, Resigns as Chair of Finance Cmte

Chicago – Ald Ed Burke began his service on the Chicago City Council in 1969, and over the last 50 years became, in the eyes of many, he became the most powerful member of the Chicago City Council. One of the primary keys to his power, was his chairmanship of the city’s Finance Committee, which controls spending legislation for the city. On Friday morning, January 4, Burke resigned as Chairman in the wake of federal authorities charging Burke with attempted criminal action.

This week, Burke was charged by Federal authorities with attempted extortion, and of using his political influence in an attempt to coerce a fast food restaurant to become a client of his law firm.

Burke has denied he’s done anything wrong.

According to press reports, the allegations concern the effort of a Burger King restaurant to get approval for a remodeling. But news reports say that when the restaurant owners declined to become a client of Burke’s law firm, which works on getting property taxes reductions for clients — Burke responded by telling the restaurant owners he would oppose their request for approval to upgrade their establishment.

These events follow a raid by the FBI on Burke’s offices near the end of November. No word was put out at that time by the FBI as to what was behind the raid on Burke’s office.

A criminal complaint filed against Burke goes into much detail about the alleged scheme to hold up remodeling of the target’s restaurant until the owner of the restaurant steered business to Burke’s law firm, which engages in property tax relief work.

The details alleged in the criminal complaint were based in part on wiretaps of Burke’s conversations regarding this matter.

Burke, who just turned 75, is married to Illinois Supreme Court Justice, Anne Burke.