Whenever a politician in Chicago or Illinois is charged by Federal Authorities with public corruption it's certainly not a startling moment. In fact it's almost kind of a common event to most of the residents of both the City and State. Four of Illinois last seven Governors have gone to prison, in fact two were inside at the same time. One is still in the slammer. Since 1972 29 Chicago Alderman have been convicted of corruption and went to prison, and as I write this 3 more are under indictment, two for corruption and one for beating his wife .Two Governors were inside at the same time. To be cynical about it, the one still in prison, Blago the stupid as most call him, ran his campaign on the platform of corruption reform. It didn't take the Government long to ship him out to join the corrupt George Ryan behind bars. The corrupt brothers could not resist wetting their Beaks at the expense of those who entrusted them to serve as leaders.
Some years back the great Tribune Columnist John Kass held a contest to rename the motto of Illinois which is currently "The Land of Lincoln" which appears on millions of Illinois License Plates. Well! after hundreds and hundreds of entries the one that won was so befitting in it's meaning no resident of the State or City had to think twice. ILLINOIS! WILL THE DEFENDANT PLEASE RISE." Yesterday Chicago yet again saw another of it's Alderman snared in a corruption indictment brought my the federal Authorities. Really the only thing surprising was it was one of the most powerful men in the history of Chicago's Alderman, Edward Burke who has served for over 50 years as an Alderman.
Somehow during those 50 years old Ed has managed a personal fortune said to be in the millions, no accusation here, but something has a stench and just maybe we might find out how all those millions showed up. Was Burke and his law firm just brilliant property tax lawyers or is something else afoot. The Government so far has charged him with Attempted extortion. He was allegedly trying to force a Fast Food restaurant chain (Burger King) with over a hundred restaurants in Illinois to shift their property tax business to his law firm using strong armed tactics like withholding City permits for renovations. The Government has extensive wire tap evidence and of course Burke has pled not guilty, so time will tell.
John Kass has called his actions "Sloppy." In my opinion the perfect word to describe a person that always thought he was the sharpest knife in the drawer. Back in the 70s and 80s when the Federal Agents were using the new wiretap laws under the Rico Statue to successfully send scores of mafia hoods to prison, even the seriously dim witted among them ceased to carry out their illicit dealings on their telephones. Their usual choices were Malls and Airports where an abundance of public phones were available to them. Even the well healed G, could not plant a bug in every phone.
Both raids on his offices, City Hall and Neighborhood Ward Office, saw the confiscation of boxes of evidence and several computers. What really got my attention was the fact that in one office they also had confiscated 23 hand guns of various types. My gut tells me that the overwhelming majority of them were gifts, probably from Cops on his security detail, thats just a gut feeling, we shall see. I'm hoping they run those guns and see just how they came into his possession.
I know Burke liked to think of himself as a cop and in fact he was one. It was for such a short time and no question he most likely never made an arrest or worked in the dark because he was quickly detailed to the States Attorneys office as an investigator. No doubt most think his daddy the Alderman Joesph Burke did some greasing somewhere. I could be wrong though, young Ed might have been able to find a Hispanic at 18th and Halsted, in the Pilsen neighborhood which surely would have qualified him as an investigator. If the charge against him turns out to be true and if any more charges bring a guilty verdict, one has to ask the question why the hell does a guy worth millions of dollars need to extort a Fast food Chain for more money at 75 years of age?
Every person in America thank God, is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Burke is no different, However there is something you can be and that is a hypocrite or as some say "TWO FACED" (see above) without a court verdict. What caught my eye about those 23 guns led me back to 1982 when Jane Byrne was Mayor of Chicago. Alderman Burke proposed a City Ordinance to ban the further sale of handguns and the registration of all guns in the City of Chicago. In other words if you owned a gun you could keep it but it had to be registered. The ordinance passed and took effect. Of course some years later the Supreme Court struck down the law and it was tossed out. So here we have a guy that once tried to take all the guns away from citizens of Chicago and he himself is caught with 23 of them. Now I ask you, is that a hypocrite? or another Politician thumbing is nose at those who elect them. Two words come to mind and all of Chicago should seriously think about them. TERM LIMITS.
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