CHICAGO (CBS) — Facing federal criminal charges for allegedly shaking down a fast food company, Chicago’s longest serving alderman for nearly 50 years Ed Burke will retain his seat in City Hall.
He was challenged by political newcomer Tanya Patiño, a civil engineer, and Jaime Guzman, an attorney and former aide to Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, who received endorsements from both the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times.
Earlier Tuesday, Burke showed up as his polling place and was confronted by a Patino campaign worker who accused him of electioneering. “He’s not supposed to be here,” the worker said. “He’s a candidate, he’s got to go.”
Burke brought poll workers a box of candy. An official with the election board said Burke did nothing improper.
The 14th, on the city’s southwest side, is predominantly Latino with close to 80 percent of the ward’s population, according to a Chicago data survey.
Sources confirmed the restaurant involved in the Burke case was a Burger King restaurant at 40th and Pulaski, the same one where 17-year-old Laquan McDonald ran through the parking lot in October 2014 moments before he was shot and killed by Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke. That Burger King is a franchise restaurant, not owned by the Burger King chain.
Burke has maintained he has done nothing wrong.
It’s been a tumultuous time for the alderman who was first elected to Chicago City Council back in 1969. He wielded tremendous power and helped other would-be politicians in their ascent to public office.
As chair of the city’s Finance Committee (he resigned from the post in January) Burke oversaw the $100-million-a-year workers’ compensation program for decades, and it had operated largely in secret and exempt from oversight by the city’s inspector general.
But on November 29, federal agents raided Burke’s City Hall office and simultaneously his ward office. His City Hall office was raided once again on December 13.
As the Burke scandal snowballed, it was reported that another powerful colleague, retiring Ald. Danny Solis (25th) wore a wire and secretly taped conversations with Burke for the FBI. In January Solis resigned as chair of the city’s zoning committee.