Ald. Edward Burke indicted on expanded federal racketeering, bribery charges – Chicago Tribune

Powerful Chicago Ald. Edward Burke was meeting with a fellow alderman in October 2017 when he allegedly expressed his displeasure over the way developers of the old main Chicago post office had so far failed to throw any business to Burke’s private law firm.

“As far as I’m concerned, they can go f— themselves,” Burke told Ald. Daniel Solis, who was working undercover for the FBI and secretly recording the conversation, according to a sweeping federal racketeering indictment filed Thursday against Burke.

When Solis noted the developers would soon be before Burke’s Finance Committee requesting $100 million in tax increment financing for the massive project, Burke responded, “Well, good luck getting it on the agenda,” the indictment alleges.

The conversation is at the center of the 59-page indictment outlining a series of alleged schemes in which prosecutors say Burke abused his City Hall clout to extort private legal work from companies and individuals doing business with the city.

In addition to the attempted extortion of the old post office developers, the 14-count indictment accuses Burke — the city’s longest-serving alderman and a vestige of the old Democratic machine — of trying to muscle developers of two smaller projects into hiring his law firm as well.

The charges also allege that Burke threatened to oppose an increase in the admission fee for a Chicago museum after the museum failed to respond to the alderman’s inquiry about an internship there for a child of a friend. The indictment does not name the museum, but details included in the charges make clear it was the Field Museum.

A source confirmed Thursday that the friend was former Ald. Terry Gabinski — a protege of the late U.S. Rep. Dan Rostenkowski who was sworn in as alderman on the same day in 1969 as Burke.

In an interview with the Chicago Tribune hours after the indictment was announced, Mayor Lori Lightfoot, in her second week in office, called on Burke to resign, saying that in her opinion as a former federal prosecutor, the case against him is strong.

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