Disgraced Ald. Danny Solis (25th) was a no-show at Wednesday’s City Council meeting as the law firm representing him confirmed his role as an FBI mole and pleaded for privacy for the alderman who wore a wire to help the feds build their corruption case against Ald. Edward Burke (14th).
“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,” the statement from Foley & Lardner LLP said.
“Mr. Solis has decided to cooperate with the federal government to continue to serve the city of Chicago’s best interests. Because his cooperation is part of an ongoing federal investigation, Mr. Solis cannot comment on the allegations against him contained in the recently unsealed affidavit that is part of the federal investigation.”
The statement goes on to request that reporters “respect Mr. Solis’ privacy.” It refers all further questions to his attorney Lisa Noller or law firm spokesperson Jill Chanen.
The Sun-Times disclosed earlier this year that Solis had worn a wire to record more than a dozen private conversations as movers and shakers sought official city actions from Burke. The conversations he secretly recorded could form the basis of a sweeping indictment against Burke by a May 3 deadline established by a federal judge.
Solis has not been seen in public — and has steered clear of City Hall — ever since he was exposed as an FBI mole. His colleagues view the role as an act of betrayal.
The Sun-Times has since reported that Solis agreed to cooperate with the feds, only after being confronted with allegations of his own wrongdoing compiled, in part, when the feds were tapping his phone.
He stepped down as chairman of the City Council’s Zoning Committee after the Sun-Times disclosed the sordid details, including trips to massage parlors, a constant supply of Viagra and a steady stream of campaign contributions provided by business people seeking city actions.
At one point while the feds were listening in on a conversation secretly recorded by an associate of a Chinese businessman, Solis arranged a meeting with House Speaker Michael Madigan. At that meeting, the speaker allegedly sought legal business for his firm, which handles property tax appeals.
Later, Solis was recorded as telling that Chinese businessman he would get what he wanted and needed to re-zone Chinatown property to pave the way for a hotel if he hired Madigan’s law firm to do the legal work. Madigan was not present when the remark was made.
At least four Hispanic aldermen have demanded that Solis either come out of hiding and start doing his job or resign from the City Council altogether. They are incensed that he continues to collect a paycheck while doing nothing for his constituents.
Solis has done neither. Wednesday’s surprise statement makes it clear that he intends to tough it out until his successor is sworn in on May 20.
After Wednesday’s Council meeting, Mayor Rahm Emanuel chuckled when asked how he tolerates Solis not showing up or doing his job. Shouldn’t he resign?
“Well, first of all, in about three weeks, they’re gonna have a new alderman. … So, the voters are gonna decide. That’s not for me to decide,” Emanuel said.
“Second is, you say he’s not showing up here. That’s just one day out of a month. There’s a ton of stuff that, my assumption, is getting done in the ward and that he is doing things that he has to do in his office.”