CHICAGO (CBS) — A Chicago developer is now caught up in the shakedown scandal of Ald. Ed Burke (14th.)
That developer, authorities tell CBS 2, attempted to bribe Burke to get a permit approved that the city denied. And it wasn’t even in Burke’s ward.READ MORE: Dixmoor Boil Order Remains In Effect As Crews Continue Work To Identify Source Of Weeklong Water Woes
CBS 2’s Jeremy Ross has been digging through the corruption charges and has the story.
The developer and attorney is facing four counts. The latest federal indictment linked to tainted Chicago Ald. Ed Burke named a new player: Charles Cui, a suburban real estate developer.
No one was inside Cui’s Lake Forest home when CBS 2 stopped by on Friday. Cui’s website described him as the founder of Immigration Lawyers P.C. and a successful real estate developer.
But in order to develop property he owns on West Irving Park Road, Cui was desperate to get a city permit for an advertising sign. A sign that Cui valued at $750,000 in revenue from an interested retailer.
In a 2017 email, Cui told Burke: “(retailer) really needs it, otherwise they will either cancel the lease or ask for significant reduction.”
Cui already had gotten a promise of two million dollars in city TIF subsidies. Money that Burke voted to approve the year before. And money that would disappear if Cui couldn’t close the deal.
In an email exchange with his own property tax lawyer, Cui said he was going to hire Burke’s private firm instead in a bid to save his development.READ MORE: Metra Train Hits Chicago Police Squad Car In Melrose Park
“I need his favor for my TIF money. In addition, I need his help for my zoning etc for my project. He is a powerful broker in City Hall, and I need him now. I’ll transfer the case back to you after this year.”
A week later, Cui signed a contract to pay Burke’s tax firm.
The feds allege that’s bribery.
CBS 2 tried reaching Cui at his law offices, but didn’t get past the locked front door.
Burke is not accused. And it’s unclear if he changed the zoning or got Cui the sign permit. The feds said Cui never got any of the TIF money. Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot released a statement reading in part:
“Today’s charges add more definition to the utterly corrupt way in which Ald. Ed Burke has exploited his position and power.”
No word back from Burke’s attorney. Also no comment from the mayor’s office and other offices within City Hall. This all goes back to an FBI raid on Burke’s offices this past fall. He has been accused of trying to shakedown a Burger King franchiser in exchange for a driveway permit.MORE NEWS: CPD's 'Carve With A Cop' Brings Children, Officers Together
Burke’s indictment is expected soon.