Burger King Near Laquan McDonald Shooting at Center of Burke Charge: Source - NBC Chicago
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Burger King Near Laquan McDonald Shooting at Center of Burke Charge: Source

The restaurant is located less than 100 yards from where 17-year-old McDonald was fatally shot by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke in 2014.

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    Powerful Chicago Alderman Ed Burke Charged With Attempted Extortion

    Powerful Chicago Ald. Ed Burke has been charged with attempted extortion 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. The federal complaint was unsealed Thursday.

     

    (Published Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019)

    The Burger King near the scene of the 2014 murder of Laquan McDonald is the unnamed company longtime Ald. Ed Burke has been charged with allegedly attempting to extort, two sources with knowledge of the situation confirmed to NBC 5 political editor Carol Marin.

    A federal complaint unsealed Thursday alleges Burke tried to extort a business identified in the complaint only as Company A "in order to corruptly solicit unlawful personal financial advantage in the form of fees arising from the retention of Burke's law firm."

    Company A is the Burger King near 40th and Pulaski on Chicago's Southwest Side, the sources told NBC 5. The restaurant is located less than 100 yards from where 17-year-old McDonald was fatally shot by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke in 2014.

    The location of the fast-food chain made headlines in 2015 after surveillance camera footage obtained by NBC 5 via the Freedom of Information Act confirmed that the video was missing 86 minutes, including the moments when McDonald was shot.

    Van Dyke has since been convicted of second-degree murder in the fatal shooting, and three other police officers are on trial in an alleged coverup scheme.

    Burke turned himself in on Thursday and was seen entering the federal courthouse downtown with his attorneys.

    Federal agents conducted raids at Burke's 14th Ward office and his finance committee suite on Nov. 29, and then again at City Hall on Dec. 13.

    Following the raids, Burke said in a statement "there have previously been several other instances such as this." 

    "In every instance we cooperated fully," he said. "And in every instance nothing has been found. So once again we will be cooperating fully and I am completely confident that at the end of the day nothing will be found amiss in this instance either."

    The unsealed complaint alleges the attempted extortion took place between June 2017 and December 2017. 

    Burke is the longest-serving alderman in Chicago history and now becomes the second sitting alderman facing a current federal charge.

    In 2016, 20th Ward Ald. Willie Cochran was accused of using funds to aid citizens in his ward, including seniors and children, to instead gamble at casinos and help cover his daughter’s college costs. Cochran has pleaded not guilty.

    Like Burke, Cochran is a former Chicago police officer, and like Burke, Cochran was charged in a Christmas-time complaint on Dec. 16, 2016.

    Unlike Burke, Cochran is not running for re-election.

    Burke faces four potential challengers in the Feb. 26, 2019, election, though two of the candidates face petition challenges.

    This year will mark a political milestone for Burke, his 50th year as 14th Ward alderman. He followed in his father’s footsteps in 1969 and has easily won re-election over and over from his Southwest Side ward.

    Burke is far and away the most prolific fundraiser on City Council, with more than $12 million in three campaign committees as of the most recent filing deadline on Sept. 30.

    Burke runs a law firm specializing in property tax appeals, and had previously worked for President Donald Trump on lowering taxes for his namesake Chicago tower. His firm, Klafter & Burke, stopped representing Trump earlier this year.

    Burke has previously been subject to scrutiny over potential conflicts of interest, as well as federal investigations over allegations of ghost payrolling.

    In 2012, a federal grand jury subpoenaed six years worth of records from Burke's Finance Committee amid an investigation into Chicago's employee disability program.

    He has never faced charges in any of the investigations prior to Thursday.