Despite extortion charge, Burke keeps Ward 14 seat
Veteran Alderman Ed Burke’s run as Chicago’s longest-serving lawmaker appears safe after he bagged at least 54 percent of the vote in Tuesday night’s election.
With 93 percent of the vote counted, WTTW reported Burke appears safe for another term despite facing federal extortion charges that continue to dog him.
On election night Feb. 20, Burke was pitted against 14 Ward challengers Tanya Patino and Jaime Guzman, who garnered 29 and 16.5 percent of the votes, respectively.
Roughly two months before, federal agents stormed Burke’s ward and City Hall offices, leading to the federal extortion charges he now faces and to him resigning as chair of the City Council’s Finance Committee.
Soon after news of the raids spread publicly, speculation swelled that they could be tied to Burke’s dealings related to the workers' compensation fund that Burke's Finance Committee controlled.
In the indictment itself, Burke alleged to have attempted to use his position as alderman and overall political power to shake down the owners of the fast food franchise he is accused of attempting to extort. As part of the scheme, Burke is also accused of telling the executives the permits they sought could be theirs, if they became clients of his private property tax law firm, Klafter & Burke.
Through it all, Burke has staunchly maintained his innocence.
"I'm not guilty of anything, and I'm trusting that when I have my day in court, that will be clear beyond a reasonable doubt," he said in an article in the Chicago Sun Times. "I look forward to trying this case in court. I've done nothing wrong."
Chicago's 14th Ward covers the neighborhoods of Archer Heights, Gage Park and West Elsdon.