On Nov. 29, federal agents wrapped the front door of Ald. Ed Burke’s Finance Committee in brown paper as they searched for documents and computer files.
After approximately four hours the agents left taking with them three HP computers, two Dell computers and two USB storage drives, according to a copy of the search warrant obtained by NBC 5.
The station's original request for the public documents was denied by the Committee on Finance, stating they were under seal. NBC 5 filed a lawsuit challenging the withholding of the material, which was released Wednesday night.
The search warrant says agents were looking for documents regarding:
“Private gain for himself (Burke) and others including Klafter and Burke”—his law firm---“in exchange for taking or refraining…from official action.”
Six individuals are listed in the search warrants---but only by letters, as are 14 other entities.
The Feds were in search of all documents concerning “Burke’s efforts to obtain employment, patronage jobs or other benefits for his personal associates.” And any evidence of using city personnel used to “conduct or advance his law firm.”
Burke, who has spent 50 years as an alderman has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
“I believe that I am not guilty of anything and I am trusting when I have my day in court that will be clear beyond a reasonable doubt,” Burke told reporters earlier this month.
Two weeks the original raid, federal agents were back once more at the Finance Committee office and a second search warrant explains why.
They removed six Dell servers, two HP servers and one IBM server.
Three weeks after that the Dean of the City Council appeared in federal court to be charged with one count of attempted extortion and left as the government said their investigation continues.
Other items seized, according to the search warrant were a rolodex, Klater and Burke checks and a business card of Chicago businessman Perry Mandera.
The released documents only pertained to the federal search at City Hall and did not include the raid on Burke’s 14th Ward office.