CHICAGO — Chicago’s City Council Zoning Chairman secretly recorded several conversations with Ald. Ed Burke, as part of a federal investigation.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported the recordings by Ald. Danny Solis, 25th Ward, led the feds to charge Burke with attempted extortion, trying to shake down the owner of a burger king, to secure its business for his law firm.
The Solis recordings were made at City Hall, and at Burke’s 14th Ward office.
Once a reliable ally of Burke, Solis announced in late November that he will not seek re-election. However, a source told the Sun-Times that he is willing to resign immediately now that his role as a FBI mole is known.
The City Council met Wednesday, but Solis was not in attendance, but reaction poured in about him allegedly wearing a wire.
“I’m disappointed that he let down his community the simple fact that something occurred to put him in that position,” Ald. Gilbert Villages, 36th Ward, said.
“I’m a little disappointed that in the world we live in that our colleagues are setting up other colleagues up,” Ald. Michelle Harris, 8th Ward, said.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel used the Solis news to talk about ethics reform.
“Our work of restoring the confidence that people have in those who serve them and that they elect is not done,” Emanuel said.
On Wednesday, the City Council took up new ethics measures including giving aldermen the power to elect committee chairmen, establishing an independent office of financial analysis and granting the Inspector General full overnight of all City Council committees.
Reaction to Solis hit the mayoral campaign trail. Gery Chico said he’s had a decent relationship with the alderman for 30 years.
“We have to take a measured response to things. You don’t wanna throw out experience overnight,” he said.
Lori Lightfoot said the system is broken.
“It all just underscores the fact that we have to reclaim our government from the machine. We have to The corruption is running rampant,” she said.
Susana Mendoza, State Comptroller, also weighed in. Mendoza reportedly received more than $55,000 from Solis’ 25th Ward operation and she’s headed to Washington, D.C. for a fundraiser with Solis’ sister.
“I’ve been very transparent, unlike Toni Preckwinkle who has hidden and lied about her contributions and has yet to come clean about what other contributions she hasn’t reported,” she said.
When asked if she was going to keep the money that Solis gave her, she said if Solis is accused of any wrongdoing, she said she won’t return every penny, but will donate it all to charity.
Also on Wednesday, Cook County Board President Preckwinkle flexed her political muscle standing with black elected officials who are endorsing her run for mayor.
Preckwinkle fielded questions about Burke’s son. According to the Chicago Tribune, Burke Jr. was under investigation for allegedly making inappropriate sexual comments at the sheriff’s office when Preckwinkle’s administration hired him.
“I had a meeting with Ed Burke and he shared with me that his son was looking for a new opportunity,” she said. “The Head of Homeland Security Mike Masters decided to hire him. If we’d known of the investigations, I wouldn’t have hired him.”
Mendoza is not buying it.
“She never has any knowledge until she gets busted, frankly, having knowledge,” Mendoza said.