CHICAGO — When Ald. Ed Burke was charged with corruption in the middle of a re-election battle, he didn’t flinch when asked about continuing to run.
“I’m not only going to stay in the race. I’m going to win,” Burke said.
He was right. Burke, the city’s longest-serving aldermen, will keep control of the 14th Ward — despite the federal charges against him.
Burke garnered more than 50 percent of the vote, which he needed to win his re-election outright. His challengers, Jaime Guzman and Tanya Patino, had just 16.10 percent and 28.86 percent of the vote as of 9:40 p.m., respectively.
Burke, 75, is one of four aldermen in legal trouble. The 50-year alderman is facing federal corruption charges but has said he plans to win Tuesday’s election.
“I have done nothing wrong,” Burke told reporters in January.
Ald. Danny Solis (25th) wore a wire over the span of two years to record conversations that helped the feds build a case against Burke.
Burke 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.
The sweeping federal investigation doesn’t end with Solis and Burke. The FBI also recorded Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan — long revered as Illinois’ most powerful politician — trying to get business for his private law firm from a developer brought to him by Solis.