Lightfoot accuses ‘Burger King Ed’ Burke of orchestrating special City Council meeting on violent crime

“This is political shenanigans and you can figure out who’s behind it,” the mayor said Thursday. “Burger King Ed is still alive and well. And he is messing around and trying to create chaos.”

SHARE Lightfoot accuses ‘Burger King Ed’ Burke of orchestrating special City Council meeting on violent crime
Ald. Ed Burke (14th) gets into a heated conversation with Mayor Lori Lightfoot during a Chicago City Council meeting at City Hall on June 23, 2021.

Ald. Ed Burke (14th) gets into a heated conversation with Mayor Lori Lightfoot during a Chicago City Council meeting at City Hall on June 23.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Thursday accused her political nemesis — indicted Ald. Edward Burke (14th) — of being the heavy hand behind a call for Friday’s special City Council meeting on violent crime.

Lightfoot said both she and Chicago Police Supt. David Brown will be there — even though she firmly believes Burke “and his minions” orchestrated the meeting to stir the pot and “create chaos.”

“Do I think this is about public safety? No, I do not. Are we gonna be there to answer questions so residents are assured? Absolutely, we will. But let’s face the facts here. This is political shenanigans and you can figure out who’s behind it,” Lightfoot said.

“Burger King Ed is still alive and well. And he is messing around and trying to create chaos. … He can’t do it in a way that makes him public. But he’s doing it through puppets and trying to orchestrate chaos. We’ve seen this picture show in ’83, ’84, ’85, ’86. But guess what? Having seen that nonsense, it’s not happening again.”

Lightfoot’s never once mentioned the Council Wars that saw Burke and his co-hort — then Ald. Edward R. Vrdolyak (10th) lead 29 mostly white aldermen in thwarting then-Mayor Harold Washington’s every move.

And she never once said the name “Burke.”

Nor did she say that her reference to “Burger King Ed” stemmed from the alleged shakedown scheme in which, the federal prosecutors say, Burke threatened to hold up renovation of a Southwest Side Burger King until the owners hired his private law firm to handle their property tax appeals work. It was near that same Southwest Side Burger King that Laquan McDonald was shot by a Chicago police officer, the now-convicted Jason Van Dyke.

“Burger King Ed and his minions — a guy who’s an indicted criminal — we’re not gonna let him stand in the way of getting work done for the people of this city. You can be sure of that,” Lightfoot said.

“We’ll be there. The superintendent will ask questions. We’ll answer questions. He will give a presentation not unlike what he’s doing [later Thursday]. But we’re not going to let people who just think that the City Council is political theater get in the way of doing the work on behalf of our residents. Shame on them if they think that they can `cause that’s not gonna happen.”

Burke could not be reached for comment.

Speaking later Thursday at CPD headquarters, Brown confirmed he would appear at the meeting, but declined to say if he’d field all the questions aldermen pepper him with.

“I’ll be attending,” he said coyly.

As for whether the meeting amounts to “shenanigans,” Brown declined to comment on what he called “political issues.”

“Ours is not to question why but to do or die,” he told reporters, apparently referring to his police service.

Ald. Ray Lopez (15th) a driving force behind Friday’s meeting, said his seatmate Burke had absolutely nothing to do with orchestrating the meeting “other than being asked to sign on” to the call.

“No matter how much Lori Lightfoot tries to emulate Donald Trump with deflection and diversion, the fact remains that violence is what is driving us together. Her inability to keep Chicagoans safe is why we are meeting,” Lopez said.

“For her to continue to try and throw out the race card, the sex card and, now, the boogey-man Ed Burke card — all in an attempt to ignore reality — shows just how far off she has become.”

Lopez said he is “thoroughly insulted” at Lightfoot’s suggestion he was doing Burke’s bidding.

“She’s implying that someone like myself — a young Latino — is incapable of coming up with these ideas on my own. Constantly questioning my intelligence to do such things without being puppeted by someone else,” Lopez said.

Ald. Anthony Beale (9th), another driving force behind Friday’s meeting, scoffed at the suggestion that Burke was calling the political shots.

“Ed Burke has nothing to do with the homicides. He has nothing to do with the carjackings. He has nothing to do with all the crime that’s plaguing this city. He had nothing to do with the looting. He had nothing to do with her losing control over CPS. He has nothing to do with her about to lose control over CPD,” Beale said.

“This is just a deflection to get people to look off of her inefficiencies and her inability to lead this city. … I have not talked to Ed about anything. Nothing.”


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