‘Absolutely repugnant’: Lightfoot pushes for Burke’s resignation amid new charges

CHICAGO — Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Friday called for longtime Chicago Ald. Ed Burke to resign amid new allegations of corruption.

“Folks need to get the message,” Lightfoot said. “This is a different day, and we’re not going to stand for people who compromise themselves.”

At a news conference Friday, Lightfoot said Burke lost his “moral authority” to govern. She sent him a letter demanding his resignation.

Aldermen are only required to give up their office if they are convicted of a crime.

Burke, the City Council’s longest serving alderman, won reelection in February despite being charged a month earlier with attempted extortion.

On Thursday, federal prosecutors released a 14-count indictment with expanded charges. Burke is accused of abusing his power to solicit business for his private law firm. The indictment also reveals details of secretly recorded conversations with former Ald. Danny Solis, who was cooperating with the investigation.

In one recording, Burke expressed displeasure that developers of the Old Post Office did not throw him any legal business.

“As far as I’m concerned, they can go f--- themselves," he said.

Months later, the recordings show, Burke asked Solis about the developers again: "So, did we land the, uh, ... the tuna?"

Prosecutors also claim Burke threatened to oppose a Field Museum admission fee hike after the museum didn’t respond to his inquiry for an internship for a friend’s child.

“No one can serve with integrity and legitimacy, and deliver on behalf of their constituents, with this kind of allegation hanging over them,” Lightfoot said. She called the allegations against Burke “absolutely repugnant.”

“This is an indictment where he is quoted because they had a wire on his cellphone,” the mayor said. “The words of Ed Burke himself are the most damning that are laid out in that superseding indictment.”

Burke’s lawyers in a statement said: "Any suggestion Ald. Burke abused his position 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."

Court records indicate Burke is set to appear in federal court Tuesday for arraignment.

 

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