DOWNTOWN — After an affidavit detailing sordid allegations against embattled Ald. Danny Solis was finally unsealed by a federal judge, the veteran alderman asked for privacy as he continues to cooperate with the feds in an ongoing corruption investigation.
The Chicago Tribune won a court case to unseal the document detailing a federal investigation against Solis. The document had been sealed in 2016 by U.S. Magistrate Judge Young Kim to protect the secret investigation. But an error accidentally left it exposed online briefly, and the Sun-Times grabbed a copy and began reporting the explosive allegations within it.
The Tribune’s lawyers argued that “the proverbial cat is out of the bag,” and the documents should be unsealed.
Following the Tribune’s court victory, the Sun-Times published the affidavit in full.
On Wednesday, Solis’ attorney Lisa Noller said the outgoing alderman “could not comment on the allegations against him or on those contained in the recently unsealed affidavit” because he was cooperating with the federal government in an ongoing investigation.
“We ask that you respect Mr. Solis’ privacy,” Noller said in a statement.
She then detailed Solis’ resume as a public servant.
“From his early years as a high school teacher, to running the Pilsen Neighbors Community Council, to representing the city of Chicago’s 25th Ward as alderman for 23 years, Danny Solis has proudly spent his career as a public servant. Mr. Solis has decided to cooperate with the federal government to continue to serve the city of Chicago’s best interests,” Noller wrote.
Noller said Solis, who has missing from City Hall and his ward since January, plans to finish out his term and “is in regular contact with his staff, who continue to service constituent needs and requests and consult with him regularly.”
She did not answer Block Club’s questions about Solis’ whereabouts or whether he plans to return to City Hall or his ward before a new alderman is sworn in, in May.
In January, the Sun-Times released a bombshell report revealing Solis wore a wire in a federal investigation against fellow Ald. Ed Burke (14th), who was re-elected despite facing attempted extortion charges.
The 120-page federal affidavit the Sun-Times obtained alleged Solis received sex acts at massage parlors, the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra and campaign contributions in exchange for ushering deals through City Council. In total, the feds listened to 18,000 of Solis’ private calls.
And 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.
In another report, Victor Reyes, former head of the powerful Hispanic Democratic Organization, complained Solis wasn’t sending him business like four other aldermen — Joe Moreno (1st), George Cardenas (12th), Ricardo Munoz (22nd) and Roberto Maldonado (26th).
Despite the damaging reports, Solis has not been indicted or charged with any wrongdoing.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
Do stories like this matter to you? Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.