Certainly those of us who have worked our entire life in law enforcement are not shocked or surprise at the lengths people will go to enrich themselves at the expense of others. Some use deadly force, some use strong armed tactics, others are a bit more sophisticated using so called blue collar methods involving fraud, credit card scams, and hundreds more too numerous to list here. As we continue on in the tech era more and more methods are being developed to separate us from our money by charlatans. However, there is one area that does elicit some surprise when it happens. Corruption by public officials, that we at one time deemed fit to be our leaders and once gained our trust to represent us.
When 14th Alderman Edward Burke who has served the City for over 50 years as Alderman and head of the City's Finance Committee in the City Council was arrested for corruption by the Feds it set off a news frenzy that I for one found quite surprising. Almost every time the news has described Burke in those 50 years it was usually with the word Powerful in front of his name.
Here is a man who in 50 years in a part time position as a City Alderman became a man worth millions and millions of dollars. DuH! does anybody really think that somehow his powerful positions did not come into play? It certainly wasn't one of those "NOTHING TO SEE HEAR MOVE ALONG STORIES." Something was afoot and finally we may get a peek at the goings on that obviously passed us all by. Dick Simpson, head of the University of Illinois Chicago's political science department, says that Chicago's ethics training is a national joke.
In a study released by Simpson's department in 2012 it maintained that Chicago was by far the most corrupt city in America and Illinois is the 3rd most corrupt state behind the much bigger New York and California. Federal prosecutors have secured over 1,531 corruption convictions in Northern Illinois since 1976 with the total soaring to 1,828 in all. The list includes 4 Governors, 2 United States Congressmen, a State Treasurer, an Attorney General, 11 State Legislators, scores of Judges and dozens of Aldermen.
The report of course concluded that Chicago was the leader of the pack. The two worst crime zones being the Governors mansion and Chicago's City Council Chambers. In todays Chicago Tribune Editorial, Alderman Burke was described as a TIN POT DICTATOR for the alleged way he tried to extort millions of dollars worth of business for his private law firm regarding property tax work, by holding up work permits for 9 months to renovate one of their Burger King businesses.
Those who read the tapes of the conversations immediately were struck by the silky/sleazy way it was playing out. I looked up the Tin Pot Dictator moniker and it's meaning, and came away with this. "An autocratic ruler with little creditability, but with self delusions of grandeur." Indeed in my opinion that is a long way from the word powerful used for decades to describe Burke. I guess powerful gets the boot when you are exposed and charged with Federal crimes.
All this Burke business has become a monster problem for others as they try to become the next Mayor of Chicago. With the election 7 weeks away most of them are busy coming up with strategies to try and explain their incestuous relations with the Alderman through the years. Some have taken campaign money from him, others he has held fundraisers for at his home and elsewhere. One in particular is Toni Preckwinkle, a candidate for Mayor and president of the County Board. While Burke was at lunch with the two Burger King executives he suggested to them that they attend a Preckwinkle fund raiser. A $10,000 donation was made at Burke's behest. The executive stated that he felt compelled to donate. Preckwinkle is on record saying she was of course clueless to it all and returned the money.
It's since reported that at one time Preckwinkle hired Burke's son to a $100,000 a year position. There is more, of course, but as you can clearly see, Burke although he doesn't have ULCERS he has become a carrier for sure. Chicago has once again earned the title "City on the Make." All the voters of Illinois and especially Chicago need to keep in mind human nature is the flaw in the system and logic and facts are no match for Ideology. ETHICS -ETHICS-ETHICS-something will always be rotten until Chicago's elected officials find out what that is all about. Chicago needs to ask their elected Officials WHERE'S OURS! NOT WHERE'S YOUR'S.
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