There are three types of Democrats. Those who have been indicted, those sent to prison, and those yet to be indicted and sent to prison.
And the city you are most likely to see corruption in is Chicago. Edward Burke, a former Chicago City Council member, who is the most powerful politician in Chicago has just been found guilty on 13 of the fourteen crimes he has been charged with. Those charges included racketeering, bribery, and attempted extortion.
Burke was accused of using his position to force private developers to hire his law firm. Burke had been in Chicago politics since 1969 and the people did not care that he was charged with serious crimes.
He won reelection by 25 points. He is now 79 years old and the chances of him dying in prison are pretty good.
A jury deliberated for nearly 24 hours before convicting Burke on charges including racketeering, a charge originally meant for members of organized crime, demanding, accepting, or agreeing to accept things of value, attempted extortion, corruptly soliciting, and using an interstate facility to promote unlawful activity. The jury acquitted Burke on one count of conspiracy.
The corruption schemes were carried out between 2016 and 2018.
One episode prosecutors focused on was Burke’s 2017 “shakedown” of the owners of a Burger King franchise in his old ward. Prosecutors said Burke stalled the Burger King’s building and property permits as he tried to get the owners to hire his law firm for tax business.
“I will play as hard ball as I can,” a political aide said on a recorded call after Burke informed him that he was “playing nice” with the Burger King owners but that they never got back to him.
Burke was also accused of turning up the heat on others, including the developer working on a $600 million renovation of Chicago’s historic Old Post Office and a liquor store chain called Binny’s Beverage Depot.
Another former alderman, Danny Solis, wore a wire for the FBI for two years in order to avoid prosecution.
In one conversation, Burke asked Solis if they had landed The Big Tuna. Burke also threatened to block an admission fee increase for the Chicago Field Museum because they failed to hire the daughter of a friend, a former Chicago alderman.
Morris Pasqual, acting U.S. Attorney for Chicago said:
“This case was about bribery and extortion occurring at the highest levels of Chicago city government.”
“The public voted Mr. Burke into office, and they trusted that he would be guided by and motivated by pursuing the common good. He betrayed that trust.”
Former Chicago Ald. Ed Burke has been found guilty of 13 of 14 counts, including racketeering conspiracy, after a six-week federal trial for scheming to use his political clout at City Hall to pressure people into hiring his private property tax law firm.
The verdict against Burke included convictions for racketeering conspiracy, federal program bribery, attempted extortion, conspiracy to commit extortion, and using an interstate facility to promote unlawful activity. The most serious of those counts – racketeering and the extortion charges – carry sentences of up to 20 years each.
He was convicted of all four schemes involving thein downtown Chicago, a , a Binny’s Beverage Depot store, and the .