Thursday, January 03, 2019

Powerful Chicago alderman in office for 50 years charged in extortion scheme

Term limits, anyone?

And when is the long overdue cleansing visit to Chicago by the League of Shadows going to happen?

"The League of Shadows has been a check against human corruption for thousands of years. We sacked Rome, loaded trade ships with plague rats, burned London to the ground. Every time a civilization reaches the pinnacle of its decadence, we return to restore the balance." Ra's al Ghul in Batman Begins.

From CBS Chicago:
Ald. Edward Burke (14th) is now facing federal criminal charges, accused of trying to shake down a fast food company seeking to remodel a restaurant in his ward, seeking to force them to hire his private law firm in exchange. The powerful alderman allegedly threatened to play “hard ball” with company executives when they didn’t hire his firm right away.

Burke has been charged with with one count attempted extortion, and turned himself in Thursday afternoon at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse. He was later released on a $10,000 unsecured bond, meaning he would only have to pay bail if he misses a required court hearing.

According to the charges, Burke used his position as alderman to shake down two executives for a company that owns more than 160 fast food restaurants in the Chicago area. In June 2017, the company was seeking his support for a building permit and driveway permit for a remodeling project at a restaurant in his ward, and Burke allegedly sought to convince them to retain his private law firm in exchange for his support for the project.

Sources confirmed the restaurant involved was a Burger King restaurant at 40th and Pulaski, the same one where 17-year-old Laquan McDonald ran through the parking lot in October 2014 moments before he was shot and killed by Chicago Police Officer Laquan McDonald. That Burger King is a franchise restaurant, not owned by the Burger King chain.
According to the complaint, Burke, who has been an alderman since 1969, and a 14th Ward employee, schemed to play "hard ball" with the company and its brass, if they didn't hire his law firm for tax appeal work.

Burke is the chairman of the City Council's Finance Committee and of course has a very strong say in municipal tax rates and policy. He's a billboard for what ails Chicago, the only major American city that has a declining population.

Burke's replaced his father, who served at 14th Ward alderman until his death.

Yes, this is a democracy. It is, right?

Burke's wife, Anne, is a justice on the Illinois Supreme Court.

Earlier today Chicago another alderman, Ricardo Munoz (22nd), was in court in relation to a domestic abuse charge.

In the last four decades over thirty Chicago aldermen have been convicted of crimes. Ald. Willie Cochran (20th) will go on trial for corruption in June. Former Ald. Ed Vrdolyak (10th), Burke's partner in the Council Wars era during the time Harold Washington was mayor, is a already an ex-con but was indicted on other charges in 2016.

Burke is also the Democratic committeeman of the 14th Ward.

UPDATE 5:45pm CST:

From the Chicago Sun-Times:
Toni Preckwinkle’s mayoral campaign acknowledged Thursday that Preckwinkle received a $10,000 campaign contribution that Ald. Edward Burke (14th) allegedly muscled from a Burger King franchise owner but said she knew nothing about the alleged shakedown and returned the contribution because it exceeded legal limits.
Taxwinkle, a hardened leftist, is the president of the Cook County Board and yes, a candidate for mayor of Chicago. She's also the chair of the Cook County Regular Democratic Organization, otherwise known as the Chicago Machine.

Decent Chicagoan--yes, they exist, need to get their yellow vests on.

Related post:

Chicago alderman arrested for domestic abuse

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