Powerful Chicago Council Member Charged in Federal Probe

Ald. Edward Burke, who for 50 years has represented Chicago’s Southwest Side 14th Ward, has been charged with attempted extortion on allegations he used his position as alderman to corruptly solicit business for his private law firm, federal prosecutors announced Thursday.

The bombshell 37-page criminal complaint was filed in U.S. District Court on Wednesday and unsealed Thursday. Here’s a brief look at what it says.

Federal investigators based the charge on “lawfully recorded conversations,” including listening in on Burke’s cellphone conversations.

The complaint accuses Burke in 2017 of hassling an unnamed fast-food company (referred to as Company A) that was seeking permits to remodel a restaurant in his ward. Burke allegedly withheld support of the company’s remodeling efforts in exchange for business to his property tax appeal law firm, Klafter & Burke.

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