Retiring Chicago Ald. Danny Solis secretly recorded a number of conversations with Ald. Ed Burke over the last two years, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, as part of a federal investigation into Burke, who was charged earlier this month with attempted extortion.
The Sun-Times reported Wednesday that Solis recorded a dozen or more conversations, including at City Hall, with an electronic listening device.NBC 5 News has not been able to independently confirm the Sun-Times report.
Burke was charged with attempted extortion on Jan. 3 for "corruptly soliciting business" for his law firm, weeks after federal agents conducted raids at his 14th Ward office and his finance committee suite on Nov. 29, and then again at City Hall on Dec. 13.
Burke is the longest-serving alderman in Chicago history and now the second sitting alderman facing a federal charge. Since he was charged with one count of attempted extortion earlier this month, Burke has been 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.
In an unsealed complaint filed in federal court, authorities claim Burke was using his official position in an attempt to stymie renovations on a restaurant in his 14th Ward – later identified to NBC 5 by a source with knowledge of the investigation as the Burger King near the scene of the high-profile police shooting of Laquan McDonald – in an alleged effort to direct the company’s business to his own property tax law firm for personal gain.Solis has not responded to NBC 5’s repeated requests for comment.
Solis suddenly announced in November that he would be retiring after more than 20 years in office, saying it was "time to enter a new chapter" in his life and "pass the baton of public service to another."
He was first appointed in 1996 by former Mayor Richard M. Daley.