Federal prosecutors released the 160-page FBI affidavit behind the stunning 2018 raid on Ald on Friday. The offices of Edward M. Burke (14th), confirming they have video of Burke at City Hall as he allegedly sought to leverage his office for the benefit of his private tax law firm.
The document, long kept under seal, further draws the curtain on the lawsuits that rocked Chicago three years ago but have yet to come to fruition. U.S. District Judge Robert Dow is preparing to hear oral arguments on hundreds of pages of motions on February 8.
Political aide Peter Andrews and developer Charles Cui are charged with Burke.
The FBI affidavit is full of colorful quotes from Burke, who calls himself a “dinosaur” for using AOL email, quotes “Dragnet” star Jack Webb, and then promises Ald. Danny Solis (25th) “you and I are not going…to get in trouble about this…at this stage of the game.”
“I believe if you make money, you should share the wealth,” Burke reportedly said. “So you and I will never…we’ll just find a way that’s above board, legal, etc.”
Still, several details about the case have already been clarified over the years, including through pretrial motions reviewed by Dow. The latest document is also riddled with redactions, including nearly an entire page that begins with the phrase, “The FBI has conducted an investigation into public corruption in the Chicago area.” He then refers to a Chicago city councilman.
The Chicago Sun-Times first reported that Solis recorded Burke for years, helping federal authorities build their case against the city’s most senior alderman. Solis did so following an investigation into his own activities, also first reported by the Sun-Times.
Burke’s legal team did not respond to a request for comment Friday.
The charges against Burke allege he used his city council seat to direct business to his private law firm in schemes involving the Old Post Office, a Burger King at 41st and Pulaski Road and a redevelopment project on the northwest side.
The FBI affidavit shows authorities not only sought to search Burke’s offices in 2018, but also sought permission to use Burke’s fingers to unlock his cell phone.
It specifically identifies a January 18, 2018 meeting between Burke and Solis at Burke’s City Hall office, cited in Burke’s indictment, as having been audio and videotaped. The couple were discussing the renovation of the old main post office and Burke reportedly complained that he was not “happy” with the lack of work received by his law firm.
“What if, if and but were candy and nuts, then every day would be Christmas,” Burke reportedly said.
Referring to an earlier meeting on September 26, 2016 – also mentioned in Burke’s indictment – the document suggests another video recording at the town hall offices. He states that “the recording of the meeting shows that Burke then pulled out a pen” and later “shows that Burke, who had a pen in his hand, pointed the pen at some papers on his desk”.
Finally, the document describes a meeting between Burke and Solis at Burke’s City Hall offices that took place on November 9, 2018 – 20 days before Burke’s offices were raided. He said Burke and Solis discussed running for re-election. It also says law enforcement ordered Solis to tell Burke that he planned to run for office, but would only serve two years of his four-year term.
“I’m going to do two years and that’s about it,” Solis reportedly said. “I mean, I don’t know what to do. I don’t know who is going [be] mayor or whatever, but, uh, I’m thinking about my future.
Solis then talked about a developer in his neighborhood, whose identity has been redacted. Later, he asked Burke, “And you?”
“Uh, well, I’m over there fighting,” Burke reportedly said. “I have about 7,000 good valid signatures.”
At the end of the meeting, Burke reportedly told Solis, “We come from… old school.
Solis said, “Okay.”