Mayor Lightfoot calls on Ald. Ed Burke to resign hours after indictment

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CHICAGO — Mayor Lori Lightfoot called on embattled Ald. Ed Burke to resign just hours after he was indicted Thursday on more federal corruption charges.

Lightfoot said it would be in best interests of everyone if the alderman stepped down. She said that given the nature of the allegations, he should resign immediately.

The mayor issued the following statement:

"The allegations in this superseding indictment are alarming. The indictment alleges that Ald. Burke used his position and the tools of government to facilitate a criminal enterprise to enrich himself and cheat the residents of this city.  No official in this city — elected or appointed — should ever profit from his or her office.  Given the serious nature of the allegations, and particularly the allegations that he abused his position as chairman of the Finance committee, Alderman Burke must resign immediately.  Given the serious criminal liability he faces, Alderman Burke can no longer continue to do his job honorably or effectively.  It is in the best interests of all that he step aside so that the residents of the 14th ward can be properly represented.

I have also directed the City's Corporation Counsel to investigate whether any current city employees or vendors were complicit in facilitating the crimes alleged in the superseding indictment.  If so, we will not hesitate to take decisive actions against anyone whose conduct violated any laws or ethical rules."

Burke (14th Ward) was accused of using his status at City Hall for personal gain. Prosecutors expanded their case against the alderman and said he demanded people use his private law firm in exchange for his help on several projects.

It was known for months that former Ald. Danny Solis was cooperating with federal agents. Now, the indictment provides vivid examples of alleged quid pro quo.

Prosecutors said Burke would ask Solis if they had "landed the tuna." And when an unnamed developed who wanted Burke's help refused to give his law firm business, Burke is quoted as saying they can go "f--k themselves."

The indictment also said Burke talked about his belief that the developer wouldn't use his law firm unless he greased the wheels of government for them. Without his power, Burke is quoted as saying he thought they would only work with Jewish lawyers.

Burke was charged earlier this year with trying to shake down two businessmen during a Burger King restaurant renovation in his ward. He was charged with one count of extortion in that case.

Burke still won re-election in February, to a record 13th term.

A spokesperson for Burke issued a statement that said the charges were unfounded and not based on actual evidence.

Read the full statement:

For over 50 years, Ed Burke has served the citizens of the 14th Ward and the City of Chicago honorably and tirelessly. His accomplishments on behalf of the community and his constituents are notable and many.

Any suggestion that Alderman Burke abused his position as a public official for personal gain is simply not true.

The charges are unfounded and not based on actual evidence. We welcome the opportunity to present the complete picture and all the facts to a jury. We are confident that when that happens, Ed Burke will be vindicated.

Burke was released on a $10,000 bond.

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