CHICAGO — The criminal complaint filed against Chicago Alderman Ed Burke alleges conversations were recorded that involve Burke attempting to extort money from the owners of a group of Burger Kings.
The criminal complaint alleges Burke wanted campaign money from the owners of a Burger King at 40th Street and Pulaski Road in the Archer Heights neighborhood. In exchange Burke would allegedly approve remodeling permit and use Burke’s law firm to represent them.
The Burger King was a focal point in the trial of Chicago officer Jason Van Dyke. Van Dyke was found guilty of second degree murder in the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald. The shooting took place near the Burger King located at 4060 S. Pulaski Rd. and security footage from the restaurant was provided to investigators.
WGN News called the company who supposedly owns the Burger King known as “Company A” in the complaint several times. The person who answered the phone said they have no knowledge on the subject.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Burke also shook down the owners for $10,000, reportedly as a contribution to Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle’s campaign fund.
On Thursday, Preckwinkle issued a statement saying that someone attempted to contribute the $10,000 dollars through her website but the contribution was denied. She tried to distance herself from the allegation.
However, WGN News later learned that Preckwinkle amended her campaign finance report to the Board of Elections to report the contribution from last Jan. 12. It was from Shoukat Dhanani, the owner of the Burger King at the heart of the charges against Burke.
Preckwinkle is currently in the running for Chicago mayor.
A spokesperson for Preckwinkle said the filing was amended in an effort to be transparent. Earlier on Thursday, Preckwinkle said she was never contacted by authorities in regard to the Burke allegations and is confident her staff followed proper protocol.
Read Preckwinkle's statement:
Alderman Ed Burke is accused of abusing his position for personal gain, breaking the public trust, it is clear he can no longer uphold the integrity of the public office and should step down from his role as alderman immediately.
In 2017, the Burkes and Gerry Chico volunteered to host a fundraiser for my Cook County board campaign. As event hosts, they were solely responsible for organizing and fundraising of this event. Today, it has come to my attention that at that time an individual attempted to contribute through my website. This contribution was not accepted. My campaign has never been contacted by the authorities, and I am confident that my staff followed proper protocol.
In the past, I have been very clear that I would not support Alderman Ed Burke as Chairman of the Finance Committee and I would remove the $100M workers compensation program from the Finance Committee. Alderman Burke’s behavior of abusing his position for personal gain does not reflect my values, and I do not condone it.