A Lake Forest man, who is a real estate developer, was convicted of colluding with longtime Chicago Alderman Ed Burke in an effort to influence and reward him, federal prosecutors said.
A federal jury convicted former Chicago Alderman Edward Burke on racketeering, bribery and extortion charges on Thursday.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois said Burke abused his position while an alderman to solicit and extort private legal work and other benefits from companies and individuals who had business dealings with the city.
Burke, 79, of Chicago, was found guilty on 13 counts, including racketeering; corruptly soliciting, demanding, accepting, or agreeing to accept things of value; using an interstate facility to promote unlawful activity; and attempted extortion.
One of Burke’s co-defendants, real estate developer Charles Cui, 52, of Lake Forest, was found guilty on five counts.
Those counts include corruptly offering or agreeing to give things of value, using an interstate facility to promote unlawful activity and knowingly making a false statement to the FBI.
A third defendant, Peter J. Andrews, 74, of Chicago, who was an aide in Burke’s 14th Ward office, was acquitted of all charges against him.
U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall scheduled a sentencing hearing for June 17 for Cui and June 19 for Burke.
The racketeering and extortion counts are punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison.
The counts for corruptly soliciting and accepting things of value are punishable by up to ten years, while the maximum for both using an interstate facility to promote unlawful activity and making a false statement to the FBI is five years.
During the six-week trial in the U.S. District Court in Chicago, prosecutors said that Burke corruptly solicited work for his private law firm from companies involved in redevelopment projects at the Old Main Post Office in downtown Chicago and a Burger King restaurant on the city’s Southwest Side.
Burke also attempted to assist Cui with a development on the city’s Northwest Side shortly after Cui told Burke that he would hire Burke’s private law firm, Klafter & Burke, for legal work, prosecutors said.
Klafter & Burke specialized in seeking property tax reductions for corporate clients.
Prosecutors said Cui steered the private legal work to Burke in an effort to influence and reward him in connection with permitting and tax increment financing for Cui’s development.
Prosecutors also said that Burke threatened to oppose an admission fee increase at the Field Museum in Chicago because the museum failed to respond to Burke’s inquiry about obtaining an internship at the museum for a child of Burke’s friend.
The corruption schemes occurred in 2016, 2017 and 2018 while Burke was Alderman of the 14th Ward and Chairman of the Chicago City Council’s Finance Committee.
Burke served in the City Council from 1969 until earlier this year.