CHICAGO (CBS) — Federal prosecutors are turning up the heat on embattled Chicago Ald. Ed Burke (14th.)

A new federal indictment charged him with racketeering and attempted extortion.

These new federal charges allege that Burke tried to shake down developers behind the renovation of the Old Post Office as well as a Chinese businessman seeking a sign permit, with Burke seeking business for his law firm in return.

The indictment alleged that Burke told Ald. Danny Solis (25th) that he would not help the New York-based company redeveloping the Old Post Office unless it hired Burke’s law firm to do tax work.

Burke told Solis in January of 2017: “The cash register has not rung yet.”

Eventually, the post office developer hired Burke’s firm at a $45,000 fee over three years. In return Burke supported a TIF subsidy for the project, without revealing his conflict of interest.

In addition, the indictment alleged that Burke used his position to squeeze tax work for his law firm out of Chinese businessman Charles Cui, in exchange for Burke’s help in obtaining a sign permit for a building Cui owns near the Six Corners intersection.

The indictment also details a rather petty form of extortion by Burke.

He allegedly threatened to oppose an admission fee hike for a Chicago museum, unless that museum hired the child of a personal friend for an internship.

Instead the museum offered that person a full time job, but that young person declined to apply for it.

Burke is scheduled to appear in federal court on these charges next Tuesday.

 

Derrick Blakley