Ald. Ed Burke, 75, walks into the Dirksen Federal Courthouse, Thursday. | Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times

Daley family, friends and associates have long been generous to embattled Burke

SHARE Daley family, friends and associates have long been generous to embattled Burke
SHARE Daley family, friends and associates have long been generous to embattled Burke

As longtime political rivals, Ald. Ed Burke and former Mayor Richard M. Daley never seemed to trust each other much and weren’t always on the friendliest terms.

But Daley’s family, friends and associates have been among the generous donors to Burke’s campaign funds over the past year, according to a Chicago Sun-Times analysis.

Some of those dollars flowed after Burke’s ward and City Hall offices were raided by federal agents Nov. 29 and Dec. 13, as part of an investigation that on Jan. 3 saw criminal charges unsealed against Burke for allegedly trying to muscle a Burger King franchise owner — while seeking city approval for a restaurant remodeling in his ward — into hiring his law firm.

And some of those campaign dollars flowed after Daley’s brother, Bill Daley, announced he’s running for mayor in February’s election against, among others, Gery Chico, Susana Mendoza and Toni Preckwinkle — candidates with close political ties to Burke or his wife, Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke.

A campaign fund for Daley’s brother, Cook County Commissioner John Daley, donated $1,000 to Burke’s 14thWard Regular Democratic Organization in a contribution recorded Dec. 27, records show. A spokesman for Bill Daley said the contribution was actually made in October but recorded later.

That appears to be the first donation from the Committee to Elect John P. Daley to any of Burke’s three main political funds in a decade.

The 11thWard Regular Democratic Organization, also run by John Daley, donated $1,500 to Burke’s 14thWard group in a contribution recorded in May.

That’s the largest of eight donations from the 11thWard to Burke’s funds since 2005, though the Committee to Elect John P. Daley also gave $1,500 to Burke’s Burnham Committee in 2007.

The law firm of another Daley brother, Michael Daley, has been a consistent donor to Burke over the years, though 2018 saw largest flow of cash in recent memory.

Daley & Georges, Ltd. — whose attorneys also include Mara Georges, Richard M. Daley’s top City Hall lawyer for years — made three campaign donations to Burke’s political funds in 2018 totaling $9,000.

In addition, the firm gave $5,000 early in 2018 to the campaign fund of Burke’s brother, state Rep. Dan Burke (D-Chicago), who ended up losing his bid for re-election. The firm donated to Dan Burke in 2014, 2016 and 2017, but no more than $1,500 at a time.

Daley and Georges also employs Michael J. Synowiecki, a City Hall lobbyist who is married to a great-niece of Anne Burke and was hired by the firm roughly four years ago.

Georges said Michael Daley is still affiliated with the firm but has retired, and she’s the managing partner and makes “the day-to-day business decisions . . . it is my firm.”

Asked about the Burke donations, Georges said, “We give a lot of money to a lot of aldermen . . . they all have my phone number.”

She said Burke had nothing to do with Synowiecki being hired by her firm, and Synowiecki had nothing to do with the Burke donations from the firm.

Another law firm with long ties to the Daley family, Mayer Brown LLP, has donated for years to Burke, including $1,500 to one of Ed Burke’s political funds, Friends of Edward M. Burke, in 2018.

Bill Daley used to be a partner at Mayer Brown. His campaign treasurer — long-time Daley family friend Roger J. Kiley Jr., who also worked at Mayer Brown for years — made six donations to Ed Burke in 2018 totaling $12,000, records show.

While Kiley has made numerous donations over the years to Ed Burke, his 2018 total may be a single-year record.

Kiley, who didn’t return calls, donated $10,600 to Bill Daley’s campaign in 2018.

Bill Daley has donated to Burke, but not for a decade, records show. Despite his family history of patronage politics and cronyism, Bill Daley has been positioning himself as a reformer in the mayor’s race, and even before Burke’s charges, Bill Daley suggested that it was time — after serving as alderman for 50 years — for Burke to go.

Bill Daley released a statement Friday that said,“Back in October in the Sun-Times, I suggested that 50 years is long enough and Ed Burke should retire. I have no influence over any other donors. I am focused on the future of Chicago.”

Richard M. Daley’s current law firm, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, also has donated for years to Ed Burke, including $750 over the last year. One of the former mayor’s closest friends who worked at the same firm, Terry Newman, gave $1,500 in 2018.

Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson, a nephew of Richard M. Daley and his brothers, works for a law firm that’s also given to Ed Burke’s campaign funds, but not in 2018.

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