Chicago (CBS) — The Burger King on 41st and Pulaski is never mentioned by name, but its permit history matches events outlined in the federal criminal complaint against Ald. Ed Burke.
Property records link ownership to Shoukat Dhanani and the Dhanani Group of Sugarland, Texas, which operates hundreds of fast food franchises nationwide.
The complaint outlines the following timeline:
In early 2017, restaurant executives sought permits for an exterior and driveway renovation.
In May 2017, restaurant architects informed owners they need a “signed acknowledgement letter” from the alderman and that “Burke wanted to meet” in person to discuss parking.
By May 23, 2017, the feds received approval for a wire tap of Burke’s cell phone, referred to as the “target phone”.
On June 8, Burke asked an aide on the target phone “to find out what private law firm handled real estate tax work” for the restaurant.
On June 11, on the target phone again, Burke said of the restaurant owner, “I’d also like to get some of his law business and get him involved here.”
At a June 14 Chicago lunch, Burke corruptly solicited tax work from company executives, according to the complaint, who contacted authorities.
On June 27, Burke used his target phone to call a company executive, saying “we were going to talk about the real estate tax representation.”
The following months include recorded “hard ball” references, permit denials and work stoppages.
By Dec. 2017, executives agreed to give Burke tax business “to avoid any further delays”.
The restaurant company extended their correspondence for several months with Burke’s law firm and completed their renovations, but never gave him any tax business.