CHICAGO (CBS) — Ald. Edward Burke (14th) is facing federal criminal charges, accused of trying to shake down a fast food company seeking to remodel a restaurant in his ward, seeking to force them to hire his private law firm in exchange. The powerful alderman allegedly threatened to play “hard ball” with company executives when they didn’t hire his firm right away.
CBS 2 probed a number of city data basis and records and have good reason to believe the Burger King at 41st and Pulaski is restaurant “A” named by the feds. Its construction permits to remodel the facade and build a driveway most closely match those in the criminal complaint.
CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole traveled to Burke’s Gage Park ward office Thursday, but it was locked tight. All the lights were on and about a dozen cars were parked in the alley and side parking lots, but no one answered the door at any of the entrances.
It’s is the same office raided by federal authorities in late November, confiscating several boxes of documents, computers, and hard drives.
Burke’s re-election signs pepper the neighborhood. A ward that has grown increasingly Hispanic during his long tenure as alderman spanning some 50 years. As CBS spoke to business owners and constituents, they shared their opinions of Burke’s situation.
One resident said he had never had a problem with the alderman.
“When you are in power for 50 years power corrupts,” said another.
“I found it a bit weird because he has been our alderman for quite a while now since I been going to high school,” another resident said.
The Burger King in question also has an infamous history – it is the same Burger King Laquan McDonald passed in 2014 only moments before he was shot 16 times and killed by Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke.