Sun-Times: Raids on Burke offices rooted in city politics
The Chicago Sun-Times reports all the current telltale signs suggest the recent raid on the offices of veteran Chicago Alderman Ed Burke have nothing at this point to do with his association with President Donald Trump.
A member of the Chicago City Council for nearly five decades, Burke has spent at least some of that time moonlighting as Trump’s lead tax assessment attorney, saving him some $12 million in property tax assessments fees on his Trump International Hotel & Tower in downtown Chicago.
“We can understand why so many people suspect the FBI’s raid on the offices of Ald. Edward M. Burke was tied to the Justice Department’s investigation of President Donald Trump,” reads a Sun-Times editorial. “But trust us. It ain’t that.”
The newspaper points to such facts as the investigation being handled by the Chicago FBI’s public corruption team, as opposed to the federal unit working side by side with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and the wrinkle that both Burke’s City Council and ward office were raided almost simultaneously, a hint that the cause is somehow rooted in Chicago politics and city business.
At the same time, all the files related to the business Burke has conducted with Trump are thought to be stored at his Klafter & Burke law offices, and the Sun-Times says a source assured them “the raids were in response to new allegations, and not prompted by any past controversies that have swirled around Burke.”
For his part, Burke insists he has nothing to hide on any front, and in a recent Chicago Tonight interview—the video was posted to Facebook—he added that he is “fully confident that nothing will be found amiss” and when pressed about Trump added, “I made my statement.”
This summer a lawsuit filed by critics sought to force Burke to dismantle an exclusive citywide program he heads that controls at least $100 million per year in workers’ compensation costs. Among the allegations against the program are claims that Burke routinely hired “political appointees who lacked the requisite workers’ compensation education and experience . . . [including] a dog groomer, dog walker, hairstylist, waitress and other jobs unrelated to the administration of Workers’ Compensation.”
The suit also alleges that Burke is further motivated to extend the program due to the leverage it affords him in filling “Shakman-exempt” jobs, those for which he is able to skirt restrictions put forth by the Shakman decrees, which were instituted specifically to thwart patronage hiring.