DOWNTOWN — Veteran Ald. Danny Solis (25th) secretly recorded powerful Ald. Ed Burke (14th) and helped the FBI build its case against him, the Sun-Times reported Wednesday.
Over a span of two years, Solis, who chairs the City Council’s Zoning Committee and is an ally to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, wore a wire to record more than a dozen conversations to assist federal investigators build a case against Burke, the Sun-Times reported.
Solis is expected to resign now that his role as an informant has been disclosed, the paper reports.
Burke responded to the bombshell report Wednesday morning at City Hall. Solis was not at the City Council meeting Wednesday.
“I have done nothing wrong. No recording that Danny Solis could make would change that,” Burke told The Daily Line.
Earlier this month, Burke, the longest-serving alderman in the history of the Chicago City Council, was charged with attempted extortion after allegedly trying to shake down a Southwest Side Burger King franchise owner.
Burke, 75, allegedly tried to steer real estate tax work to his law firm by holding up remodeling permits and a driveway permit for the fast food spot in his ward, according to the federal complaint.
The complaint was issued five weeks after FBI agents raided Burke’s City Hall and 14th Ward offices and campaign offices, papering over the windows while they searched for hours before hauling away boxes and computers.
“The transaction described in the complaint does not make out an extortion or an attempt to extort,” Burke’s attorney Charles Sklarsky told reporters. “We look forward to a prompt day in court to prove the innocence of Alderman Burke.”
The complaint also alleges Burke urged the Burger King executives to donate campaign cash to Toni Preckwinkle, who was running for another term as Cook County Board President at the time.
Following the complaint, Burke stepped down as chairman of the City Council’s Finance Committee.
In November, Solis made a surprising announcement that he would not seek re-election.
Solis could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.
A spokesman for Solis did not return a message Wednesday.
Candidate Hilario Dominguez, who is one of five candidates running for Solis’ 25th Ward seat, called on Solis to immediately resign Wednesday.
In a statement, 25th Ward candidate Byron Sigcho-Lopez called the news that Solis wore a wire to help build a case against Burke “concerning” but “not surprising.”
“While we don’t know the circumstances that led Ald. Solis to cooperate with federal authorities and wear a wire, we all agree that City Hall has had a long and persistent corruption problem,” Sigcho-Lopez said. “The only way we are going to restore people’s confidence in our government institutions is by electing new leaders who have a proven commitment to rooting out corruption.”
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