A new development in the federal investigation of Ald. Edward Burke happened Tuesday when the Chicago Sun-Times broke multiple stories about an explosive federal court affidavit involving Ald. Danny Solis (25th).The document’s contents help explain why Ald. Danny Solis agreed to spend more than two years cooperating in a federal investigation that included recording conversations with Burke.
Here are five key takeaways from the investigative series published in the Sun-Times Tuesday:
1. The investigation has touched two of the most powerful politicians in the state, House Speaker Mike Madigan and Chicago Ald. Ed Burke. Also caught in the net is Ald. Danny Solis, who for years was the powerful chairman of the city’s Zoning Committee.
2. Burke has been charged with trying to shake down a Burger King franchise owner for business for his legal firm when the businessman needed city permits for a location in Burke’s 14th Ward.
3. Madigan has not been charged with any wrongdoing. But he was secretly recorded in his law office asking a businessman to hire his firm for legal work, the feds say. That businessman needed a zoning variance from the city to build a hotel.
4. Also in that meeting was Solis. The feds say Solis made it clear to the businessman after the meeting: hire Madigan’s firm and things would go smoothly for him with the city.
5. Solis started secretly recording Burke for the feds after they amassed a detailed case against him, which included listening in on Solis’ cellphone calls.
The feds allege Solis got Viagra, prostitutes and free use of a farm that Oprah Winfrey once owned for his son’s graduation party, among other favors, in exchange for zoning favors and other city services.