(DailyVantage.com) – A Chicago jury recently found one of the Chicago City Council members guilty of corruption following a lengthy trial involving over ten criminal charges. Of the 14 charges brought against Alderman Ed Burke, 13 resulted in the successful conviction of the powerful Democrat. Burke served on the Chicago City Council for several decades and was the city’s finance committee chair for 30 years before his conviction.
The jury convicted Burke of multiple felonies, including racketeering and attempted extortion. The Chicago jurors Burke bribed the federal program due to his involvement in corruption that originated from projects that received federal funding. The trial focused on Burke’s failed extortion of several Burger King executives, whom Burke tried to pressure into hiring his property tax legal office. Burke promised Burger King building permits for Chicago if they hired him as their tax law attorney.
Burke refused to provide the permits to Burger King without an in-person meeting with the company’s executives. The Burger King Representatives declined Burke’s offer and legally obtained the desired building permits to begin construction of several restaurants within Chicago’s city limits. After construction began on the locations, Burke prevented the project from moving forward by using his influence as a city council member. Despite Burke’s status as a highly influential Chicago Democrat, other Democrats from the city are criticizing Burke for his corrupt actions while serving on the city council.
According to Chicago’s former mayor, Lori Lightfoot, Burke cared more for his personal gain than serving the residents who voted him onto the city council approximately 50 years ago. Lightfoot also claims that other people, including elected officials, are involved in Burke’s corruption. Lightfoot said that Burke “monetized” the Finance Committee and that other committee members are complicit in his corrupt activities. According to Lightfoot, the absence of accountability for Chicago city officials enabled Burke and other elected officials to use their influence for financial gain.
Burke is the latest Chicago alderman convicted of a crime, with almost three dozen elected officials facing similar criminal convictions since before Burke took office. Despite Chicago’s lengthy history of corrupt city officials, Burke maintains his innocence and is potentially planning an appeal of his conviction. Burke will appear in court for his first post-trial court proceeding on June 19, 2024.
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