In 2014, Chicago alderman Danny Solis became the subject of a federal criminal investigation, according to a source familiar with the investigation. That would be a year before 14th Ward Alderman Ed Burke also became a target of federal authorities, according to the timeline in a federal criminal complaint.
On Wednesday the Chicago Sun-Times reported Solis secretly recorded conversations with Burke as part of a federal investigation. NBC5 News has not been able to independently confirm the Sun-Times report.
NBC 5 has learned that Solis’ cooperation with the feds was brought about by the fact that Solis himself was the subject of a criminal investigation dating back to 2014. To date no charges have been brought against the retiring 25th Ward alderman.
According to a source familiar with the investigation, a confidential informant wired up on Solis at least a year before Solis is reported to have wired up on Burke.
Solis was absent from Wednesday’s City Council meeting.
Burke, the most powerful alderman in City Council who headed the Finance Committee, was charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office with one count of attempted extortion earlier this month. Burke was subsequently removed as Finance chair but is still running for re-election to the 14th Ward where he has served as alderman for 50 years.
He told a reporter again on Wednesday, as he has in the past, that he has done nothing illegal. Earlier this month Burke waived a preliminary hearing.
The investigation of Solis, according to the source, focused on his alleged misuse of his official office for his own personal gain and the gain of others.
The last known alderman to wire a wire against City Hall colleagues for the feds was Allan Streeter, of the 17th Ward, who plead guilty in the Operation Silver Shovel investigation in the mid 90s.
Alderman Solis, who announced his retirement late last year, chaired arguably the second most powerful City Council committee, the Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards, that votes yea or nay to where developers can build multi-million dollar to multi-billion dollar projects in the city.
Solis has not responded to repeated requests for comment.
The U.S. Attorney's Office declined to comment.