Although Trump once assured the American people that he exclusively hires “only the best people,” that’s turning out to be more of a lie with each passing day. In fact, it appears that what Trump actually does is hire exclusively criminals.
Feds charge prominent Chicago Alderman Edward Burke with corruption https://t.co/DYQMK6x5Qa
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) January 3, 2019
The latest Trump associate to go down, this time not in relation to work he’s done for the president, is Alderman Edward Burke from Chicago, the man who handled Trump’s tax work. After a stunning raid by the FBI on his offices, he’s now being hit just a few short weeks later with charges of extortion.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that:
‘The charges revolve around a fast-food company’s remodeling project in 2017. The company sought support from Burke for the project, and he aggressively tried to land the company as a client for his firm, prosecutors allege…
‘At one point, when the fast-food company officials had not yet hired Burke’s firm to do property tax appeal work, the firm’s specialty, Burke and one of his ward employees agree to turn the screws on them regarding permits they need. “All right, I’ll play as hard ball as I can,” the unidentified ward employee says, according to the complaint.’
Burke agreed with the ward employee, encouraging him to move forward with the plan.
— John Joe Schlichtman (@JJSchlichtman) January 3, 2019
Burke is currently planning to run again for his city council seat, one he’s held for over 20 years. While his supporters wondered whether or not he would even continue his run, the alderman recently issued a statement ensuring them that he would.
‘As you are aware, there have previously been several other investigations such as this. In every instance we cooperated fully. And in every instance nothing has been found. So once again we will be cooperating fully and I am completely confident that at the end of the day nothing will be found amiss in this instance, either.’
The time, however, there have been crimes found, one in the form of that recorded phone call that proves extortion on the part of the city councilman. More evidence will be unveiled to the public as the case moves forward.
Feds: Burke 'used his position as alderman … in order to corruptly solicit unlawful personal financial gain' in the form of business for his private firm, Klafter & Burke https://t.co/Hlp9YHoSFL
— Dan Mihalopoulos (@dmihalopoulos) January 3, 2019
After making that announcement, Burke supporters proved that they are one and the same with Trump supporters. The “R” after his name means more to them than electing a decent human being who actually respects the law. Following the raid on his offices, a fundraiser proved that Chicago’s wealthy elite are still more than willing to donate money to the campaign of a criminal who helps keep their taxes low.
‘A few days later, more than 1,000 people reportedly showed up for a $150-per-ticket Burke fundraiser at the Sheraton Grand, taking in more money at the door than at any of his previous fundraisers. Burke has amassed a considerable campaign war chest totaling more than $12 million that could be used for legal expenses.’
Mega-powerful Chicago alderman charged with extortion, after feds wiretap him.
The alderman is also @realDonaldTrump's Chicago real-estate lawyer, but the charges don't relate to his work for Trump. https://t.co/bXB24b41T3
— David Fahrenthold (@Fahrenthold) January 3, 2019
Through Burke’s years in his office, multiple questionable instances have been noted. As the husband of an Illinois Supreme Court justice, he appears to have escaped prosecution for many irregular and possibly illegal acts.
‘Burke has faced scrutiny over the years for a variety of reasons, including the $100 million city workers’ compensation fund operated by the Finance Committee he heads. His law firm represents clients who do business with the city, forcing him to abstain from many votes. He has survived federal investigations that threatened to undercut his power base, once even by blaming a dead man for ghost-payrolling irregularities on his committee payroll.’
Ed Burke, the longest-serving alderman in Chicago history, is expected to turned himself in on corruption charges this afternoon, weeks after the FBI raided his City Hall and ward offices. https://t.co/1nplR5titx pic.twitter.com/Wc99zWnMtc
— Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune) January 3, 2019
While the charges do not stem from work that Burke did for Trump’s businesses, it’s notable that he did, however, do work that kept Trump from having to pay taxes on his business properties. Like so many other Republicans, Trump was willing to work with a shady character like himself for monetary gain.
‘Burke’s law firm, Klafter & Burke, repeatedly has sought to reduce the property taxes that Trump Tower and other commercial properties have to pay.’
Burke faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.