CHICAGO — Ald. Danny Solis, 25th Ward has not been seen in public since the bombshell revelation that he had worn a wire to record conversations with Ald. Ed Burke and secretly recorded Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan.
Residents and reporters have been trying to track down the alderman, but he’s not at his office and not answering his phone. Some speculate he may have left the city, but so far, he hasn’t left the City Council.
Marisol Barrera, a 25th Ward resident, was trying to get information on the zoning of a property at the 25th Ward office in Pilsen. The staff helped her, but not the alderman.
The alderman has been missing in action.
“We just know that none of these guys are super clean. He had something to gain or they had something on him,” Barrera said.
Since the Chicago Sun-Times first reported on the “undercover alderman” and exposed that Solis had worn a wire to help the FBI investigate Ald. Burke with the feds alleging “Solis traded favors for sex acts, Viagra and donations,” he’s been the “council outcast.”
A staff worker at the alderman’s office said she didn’t know where he was, but that the office was still helping residents.
Calls to the alderman’s cell phone go directly to voice mail.
The speculation surrounding Solis led to Block Club Chicago, the news organization that closely covers Chicago neighborhoods, to ask a simple question: Where is Danny Solis, and who’s in charge?
Reporter Maurico Pena interviewed a number of officials and experts, as well as Solis’ constituents and colleagues. No one knew about the alderman’s whereabouts.
“We don’t know exactly where he is, but his return is contingent on the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” Pena said.
The retiring alderman’s term doesn’t run out until May.
“That begs the question, who’s in charge for permits needed for businesses, new restaurants, development, anything that needs aldermanic approval is essentially on standby, Pena said.
“It’s a shame that we have got into this where we have an alderman missing for weeks now,” Byron Sigcho Lopez, a candidate for alderman, said.
Across the street from Solis’ office is Lopez’s campaign headquarters. He is one of five contenders to replace Solis on the council.
“I think the responsible and the right thing to do is to resign immediately and deal with this issue as a private citizen,” Lopez said.
Solis did resign his position as the chairman of the zoning committee, but he retains his council seat, even if he’s no longer attending meetings or showing his face in public.