Former TriCity Foods official Jeff MacDonald told the jury a meeting with former Ald. Ed Burke “felt like a shakedown” because Burke made it clear “we were not going to get this permit until there was some neighborhood or philanthropic effort. Something to be involved with the city and the community.”
A restaurant group official said he was “taken aback” when Ald. Ed Burke brought up possible work for his property tax law firm as the pair discussed driveway permits for a Burger King undergoing a remodel in Burke’s 14th Ward in 2017.
Work will not resume Tuesday, while the review of the 800-page report by Illinois Environmental Protection Agency officials continues, said Jordan Abudayyeh, a spokesperson for Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
New restrictions on where members of the public can sit during meetings of the Chicago City Council are “inequitable and likely illegal,” David Greising, president of the Better Government Association, warned Mayor Brandon Johnson.
Construction began earlier this week in Brighton Park on the massive tents that will house at least some of the more than 1,000 migrants living in police stations across the city and at O’Hare Airport.
Former Ald. Ed Burke faces 14 criminal charges, including racketeering, bribery and extortion, in a case that accuses Burke of using his powerful position at City Hall to force those doing business with the city to hire his private law firm, formerly known as Klafter & Burke.
“The imminent addition of significant new shelter space,” means the Amundsen Park field house is no longer needed as a migrant shelter, Mayor Brandon Johnson said.
Some of Ald. Ed Burke’s turns of phrase have already become an indelible part of Chicago’s long history of political corruption. They are also now evidence in a federal trial.
Burke is charged with what prosecutors say are four criminal schemes, three involving the former alderperson’s side hustle as a property tax attorney. Perhaps the most elaborate scheme Burke is charged with involves the Old Post Office.
A probe by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development found that aldermanic prerogative has created a hyper-segregated city rife with racism and gentrification.
Mayor Brandon Johnson touted what he called the “Unity Initiative” as his city officials announced that crews will start building the frame of a winterized base camp to shelter as many as 2,000 people near 38th Street and California Avenue as soon as Wednesday.
Evidence in Burke’s landmark corruption case moved into the third of four schemes the former 14th Ward alderman allegedly spearheaded, this one involving the massive Old Post Office building, which had been left vacant and run down for years before it was sold to 601 West Companies in 2016.
While the shelters will be a part of the city’s shelter system, state funds will be used to build the facilities, operate the shelter and provide services, including conflict resolution. There are now nearly 12,800 migrants in city-run shelters, an all-time high.
The board’s ruling could also complicate efforts to hold public officials or candidates responsible for other kinds of violations, unless the City Council acts to change the law, sources told WTTW News.
Ald. Julia Ramirez (12th Ward) said Mayor Brandon Johnson’s office informed her late Friday that work would begin Monday on the base camp over her objections and after the discovery of “toxic metals” on the site.
Jurors on Tuesday began hearing evidence of the second of four criminal schemes the longtime 14th Ward alderperson was allegedly involved in — this one involving remodeling work at a Burger King restaurant that was located in Burke’s district.