(WatchDogReport.org) – Former Chicago Democratic Alderman Ed Burke was found guilty of attempted extortion, bribery, and racketeering following a federal corruption trial that lasted six weeks. The Chicago City Council member has been considered one of the leading Democratic leaders and one of the most powerful politicians in the so-called Windy City.
Authorities convicted Burke on 13 of the 14 charges leveled against him in a federal indictment in 2019, where he was accused of using his political position to steer business from some private developers to his law firm. Prosecutors also alleged that he threatened to sabotage a measure by increasing admission fees at the Field Museum after failing to allow an internship to the daughter of a former lawmaker.
According to different reports, his shakedown scheme targeted the developers of a Midwest liquor store, Beverage Depot, and a Burger King in Chicago’s 14th Ward. Burke also targeted a developer who was working on a $600 million renovation of the city’s Old Post Office.
In the federal investigation against Burke, authorities had his former Alderman Danny Solis wearing a wire for two years. On one occasion, he could be heard saying that developers in Chicago were wrong if they thought they would get any favor from him without their business.
During a conversation about the lead developer of the Old Post Office project, who is Jewish, Burke made some antisemitic comments. He told Solis that Jews are the kind of people who will only deal with Jews unless there’s any reason “for them” to “use” someone from another religion.
In other recordings, Burke bragged about making a developer’s daughter become a judge in Chicago’s Cook County while claiming that developers in the Windy City must know that “Chicago is a small town.” He made those comments after having a phone conversation with a developer who wanted to solve a dispute with Amtrak.
The Democratic leader is facing a maximum sentence of 110 years in prison. He left the courthouse with his wife while refusing to answer any questions from reporters.
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