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Ed Burke round-up

Friday, Nov 30, 2018

* Common national media headline

Federal agents mysteriously raided a former Trump attorney’s office: what we know - Ed Burke represented Trump on property tax issues between 2006 and 2018

* Experienced in-town reporter…

* Tribune

Nationally, media outlets and websites were quick to note that Burke once served as the attorney who appealed property taxes on behalf of President Donald Trump’s Chicago tower before cutting those ties earlier this year. And the raids on Burke’s office came on the same day the president’s former attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about a Trump project in Moscow as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

The timing of that development and the raid on Burke’s offices led to rampant speculation that the searches were related to work Burke’s law firm did for Trump. The Burke investigation, however, was being conducted in conjunction with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago, not Mueller’s office, said Joseph Fitzpatrick, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney John Lausch.

Authorities did not search Burke’s law office Thursday, a law enforcement source told the Chicago Tribune. The investigation involves recent allegations and no arrests were made or are imminent, according to the source.

* Fran

“For the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office to be executing search warrants at his government offices, that had to be approved at a very high level of the Department of Justice in Washington. This is not something you do on a notion,” [mayoral candidate Lori Lightfoot, a Burke nemesis and former federal prosecutor] said.

“A magistrate judge had to sign off on the particulars of the search warrant to show there was a credible allegation that a federal crime was committed and that evidence of that federal crime would be found in these locations. That means this is a very, very serious matter.”

Lightfoot predicted that there would be “a very bare bones charging document, probably a criminal complaint” issued relatively soon. A search warrant laying out the probable cause and an inventory of items taken, is likely to come later after all of it is presented to a grand jury, she said.

“It doesn’t always happen that way. … Sometimes search warrants are issued and nobody gets charged. But it would surprise me if that happened here,” she said.

“This is a very high-profile elected official. A search of his government offices very close to an election, which they would be mindful of and the consequences of that. This is not a nothing. This is a very serious action.”

It does look very serious, but Dorothy Brown has been under federal investigation for years and nothing has ever happened to her, even after the G seized her mobile phone three years ago.

It’s the way the feds went about it that makes me so curious. This was a very public raid. They didn’t go the quiet subpoena route like they did in 2012, when a grand jury subpoenaed records from Burke. This time, they made their presence known. When they seized Brown’s phone, they just quietly showed up at her home with a warrant. They didn’t put brown paper over her office windows and dispatch a legion of federales in full view of reporters.

* More

[Mayor Rahm Emanuel] said City Hall had not received any subpoenas in connection with the FBI raid of Burke’s finance committee and 14th Ward offices.

* I-Team

Burke has been in office for nearly 50 years and is the powerful chairman of the Finance Committee, which oversees the administration of the $100 million Workers Compensation Fund for city workers injured on the job.

In 2012, the City Inspector General sought to review the records, but was rebuffed by Burke. The Legislative Inspector General, which oversees the City Council, then tried to intervene. […]

The statute of limitations for any corruption charges that could stem from that investigation is five years. But a source familiar with these kinds of cases said if the feds can show in an investigation that there are continuing crimes, the statute runs from the last crime.

* More

Thursday’s federal search warrants also come a few months after a federal lawsuit was filed in Chicago challenging the legality of Burke’s control of city workers’ compensation and alleging that the South Side alderman commands a dozens-strong patronage army under the cover of his Finance Committee. The suit, filed by several former and injured city employees, claims that Burke falsifies his committee budget, understates his staff size and hides information from the public. According to an amended complaint filed this month, Burke allegedly hires unqualified employees who have “worked as a dog groomer, dog walker, hairstylist, waitress, and other jobs unrelated to the administration of Workers’ Compensation.”

Oddly, there was a scheduled status hearing on the lawsuit in federal court at the same time the raids were underway in Ald. Burke’s City Hall and ward offices. Attorney Michael Greco, who represents the plaintiffs in the case, said he was “curious about the document raids” but had no information on them or comment.

* But

At one point an agent who identified himself as FBI removed an odd fluorescent green rod from his vehicle and took it inside. A sign in the window was marked Chicago Police Narcotics Task Force.

What?

I did a quick Google search and couldn’t find anything. Anybody know what that green rod might be?

* Timing

The raids happened as Burke’s wife, Ann Burke, was being sworn in for another term on the Illinois Supreme Court. Mariotti thinks that is not mere coincidence. […]

“What I think is interesting is the timing of this was the day that his wife was getting sworn in. It seems like a very good day to conduct a search if you want to be able to talk with (Burke’s) employees without him being around.”

* More on that

As FBI agents rummaged through his offices, the alderman attended a luncheon at the Chicago Yacht Club celebrating his wife, Anne Burke, who on Thursday was sworn into her second 10-year term on the Illinois Supreme Court.

* Uh-oh…



* Lucky for her, she’s leaving town next week

Susana Mendoza is taking a long-planned family vacation next week. A source close to the campaign says Mendoza and her husband didn’t have the heart to cancel the trip they planned with their 6-year-old son—a trip that was in the works long before Mendoza thought she’d be running for mayor.

“Long-planned.” (Update: I was shown a receipt that clearly indicates she booked that trip months ago. Also, the link has been restored to her website.)

* Other stuff…

* Ald. Ed Burke’s career includes nearly half a century on Chicago City Council

* Ed Burke’s political rivals eager to put on their dancing shoes

* Burke raid follow-up: He’ll cooperate with probe

- Posted by Rich Miller        

47 Comments
  1. - Grand Avenue - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 11:14 am:

    The Election season timing is quite interesting


  2. - Regular democrat - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 11:16 am:

    Get ready for a steady stream of tv featuring burke chico and mendoza.


  3. - wordslinger - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 11:18 am:

    –It’s the way the feds went about it that makes me so curious. This was a very public raid. –

    Yes. On a day with other very public federales action.

    On this one, I don’t blame the national media for their speculation connecting Cohen, Deutsche Bank and Burke. They’re all tied to Chicago Trump Tower.

    Local media were blindsided and don’t have the story yet, either. I don’t think they can gloat too much about out-of-town-stupid until they do.


  4. - 3 Rivers Blue - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 11:18 am:

    The “odd” fluorescent green rod is used to look at prints, oil, and residue not seen by the naked eye.


  5. - Amalia - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 11:19 am:

    it could be something completely unrelated to the Alderman and his position. could be about a staffer, illicit activity. I’m intrigued by the little green rod bit.


  6. - blahh - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 11:25 am:

    nothing says love like a raid from the G for the holidays. How does Emmanuel not pull his police detail immediately?


  7. - CharlieKratos - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 11:25 am:

    If the FBI already had something on Burke they could run with at any time, maybe they’re using it now as a valid excuse for a fishing expedition for something Trump related too? 50 years in office is an awful long time to get very sloppy.


  8. - NIU Grad - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 11:26 am:

    Background on the rod: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wavTKo1gH8

    Couldn’t help myself.


  9. - Hammer - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 11:27 am:

    Between Preckwinkle’s chief of staff and Mendoza/Burke the mailboxes and airwaves are gonna be clogged with negativity this winter.


  10. - Sue - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 11:27 am:

    First- anyone who thinks Burke isn’t the subject/target of the GJ also believes in the tooth fairy. Pretty hard to get a search warrant on an elected official so the PC had to be overwhelming. Two reasons to do this so publicly- fear of doc destruction(not likely) or more likely to shake the trees in order to get witnesses with possible culpability to come in voluntarily and speak with the government.


  11. - bellachekk - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 11:28 am:

    How about a reporter check his visitor logs/compare that with the most recent D2’s, ask city hall if they’ve swept for bugs in the last two weeks, etc.. Come on reporters, do you job.


  12. - Anon221 - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 11:29 am:

    The only green rod I could come up with so far is a trajectory rod (not saying that’s what it was, just all I’ve found so far)-

    https://www.shopevident.com/category/blood-trajectory/24-photographic-trajectory-rods


  13. - Anonymous - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 11:31 am:

    If there is a Trump angle (and I think the timing provides a rationale) it will be providing the leverage to “flip” Burke into another one of a still growing group of big and little witnesses to the workings of the inside of Trump world.


  14. - NoGifts - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 11:34 am:

    The odd fluorescent green rod …. sure that wasn’t a highlighter pen? LOL


  15. - 47th Ward - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 11:38 am:

    ===Lucky for her, she’s leaving town next week…===

    That’ll leave Gery Chico to answer all of the awkward questions. Mendoza might have referred to Burke as a political mentor, but Burke endorsed Chico for Mayor. Ouch.


  16. - Sue - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 11:41 am:

    Trump Trump Trump. Would all of you stop. I recognize most of you hate the President but as reported this has Zero to do with Trump.


  17. - The Captain - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 11:43 am:

    The green rod is Blagojevich jealous with envy now that the feds have a new beau.


  18. - Ron Burgundy - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 11:47 am:

    Rest of the World: “OMG, a Chicago raid! It must be Trump!”

    Anyone who has been around Chicago a while: “Meh.”


  19. - ChicagoVinny - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 11:49 am:

    It’s probably local but being based out of U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago doesn’t preclude this being a referral that fell out of Mueller or SDNY investigations, does it?

    Cohen’s stuff got referred to SDNY for example.


  20. - 47th Ward - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 11:55 am:

    ===if you look back at Cohen’s original conviction===

    And Cohen owns or owned a bunch of Chicago taxi cab medallions, didn’t he? Those were losing value ever since Uber and Lyft and other ride sharing companies entered the Chicago market. Doesn’t the City Council have some role in regulating ride sharing?


  21. - Anonymous - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 11:57 am:

    The Feds could be using crimes at the local level to get Burke to roll on Trump, kind of like they used the cab business for Cohen.


  22. - Rich Miller - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 12:00 pm:

    ===get Burke to roll on Trump===

    For what? The guy handled Trump’s property tax appeals. Cool your jets.


  23. - Ike - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 12:03 pm:

    Sue - how many people here said this was all about Trump? Trying to get attention drama queen?


  24. - Streator Curmudgeon - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 12:04 pm:

    ==Dorothy Brown has been under federal investigation for years and nothing has ever happened to her,==

    And aren’t the Feds still investigating Frank Mautino, too?


  25. - jim - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 12:04 pm:

    ” When they seized Brown’s phone, they just quietly showed up at her home with a warrant. They didn’t put brown paper over her office windows and dispatch a legion of federales in full view of reporters.”

    why would they need to put up brown paper to seize brown’s cell phone?
    they probably put up the brown paper in Burke’s office to limit what they knew what would be tremendous public attention.


  26. - DuPage Bard - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 12:10 pm:

    Burke will roll over on whoever they ask him to. He’s a survivor. Whatever they have on him he’s got more on others. Taking down one big fish is fine but if you can bring home a whole boatload of fish after letting this one go it’s a much better day. 50 years in office, head of the Finance Committee, married to Supreme Court Justice etc etc he’s got the goods on lots of people.
    Which fish and how many fish will he return for his release back into the sea?


  27. - cdog - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 12:11 pm:

    I googled “green light forensic” and got quite a few hits.

    I suspect that the green light is used to “tune” a treated area for filtered photography. Objects fluoresce in different wavelengths and the visual “noise” has to be dealt with.

    From one product’s application descriptions “… will fluoresce under an ordinary UV black light, many articles … will also glow and deter their detection.” “It is therefore necessary to tune to visible wavelength (color bands) to eliminate the background interference.”


  28. - Steve - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 12:13 pm:

    After yesterday, IF Ed Burke ISN”T indicted : the Justice Department has some big questions to answer. Why raid a prominent politicians’ offices 90 days before an election ????


  29. - Sue - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 12:14 pm:

    Ike- 5 and counting


  30. - wordslinger - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 12:18 pm:

    –Why raid a prominent politicians’ offices 90 days -before an election ????–

    For crying out loud, that’s three months. What’s your magic number for when it’s kosher, and is it in direct proportion to your excessive punctuation?


  31. - Grand Avenue - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 12:20 pm:

    The Trump angle to this story is one of the best examples of “Out of Town Stupid” I may have ever come across.

    In fact, if people ever ask me to define Out of Town Stupid I think this will be the first thing I refer to


  32. - Rod - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 12:33 pm:

    Very nice of CPD to transport the Chairman’s prized shillelagh from City Hall to the ward office.


  33. - Ike - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 12:45 pm:

    Sue before your comment at 11:41am there were only 3 out of 16 comments that mentioned Trump.

    Your persecution complex is tiresome.


  34. - Flapdoodle - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 12:50 pm:

    Green rod — suspect 3 Rivers Blue is correct here. Such rods used to reveal marks and substances not visible to naked eye under standard lighting, scan surfaces to identify such marks and substances, allow their retrieval/cataloging, prevent their inadvertent destruction/ compromise. Why it was used it a very different question.


  35. - @misterjayem - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 1:07 pm:

    Never attribute to extraordinary national politics that which is adequately explained by routine local corruption.

    – MrJM

    – MrJM


  36. - Birdseed - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 1:28 pm:

    === - Ike - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 12:45 pm:

    Sue before your comment at 11:41am there were only 3 out of 16 comments that mentioned Trump.

    Your persecution complex is tiresome. ===

    So is yours. By your math, close to 19% mentioned Trump. What is your threshold for comment, webmaster?

    Also, did you take into account yesterday’s post?


  37. - Ron Burgundy - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 1:35 pm:

    –Trump Trump Trump. Would all of you stop.–

    Perhaps if this read “all of you tying this to Trump…” instead of “all of you,” there might be less of a kerfuffle.


  38. - Been There - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 1:54 pm:

    This maybe / probably has nothing to do with Trump. But there is a connection. It should be reported and the dots should be connected. But they also don’t have to make it sound like that is definitive.
    And as mentioned above the taxi medallion angle is interesting. As in almost all federal investigation there is collateral damage to those with connections to the main story line.


  39. - RNUG - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 2:11 pm:

    Taxi medallions in both NYC and Chicago have been the subject of questionable regulation for a century. Been lawsuits over it. Even a actual war in Chicago between taxi companies about 95 years ago.

    Been lots of lobbying on both sides of the issue both in the city and at State level. Could be something the Feds


  40. - RNUG - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 2:12 pm:

    … the Feds are interested in.


  41. - Anonymous - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 2:22 pm:

    Trump is finished.


  42. - 47th Ward - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 2:29 pm:

    ===Taxi medallions in both NYC and Chicago===

    The value of a Chicago taxi medallion, according to the Tribune, fell by 90% since ride sharing entered the market. From $300,000 to $30,000. A lot of medallion owners borrowed money to buy them and are now seriously underwater. Desperate people sometimes do desperate things.


  43. - Proud Sucker - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 2:34 pm:

    >>MrJM I like your establishment of Occam’s Political Razor(punctuation) Well done sir(punctuation).


  44. - Vote Quimby - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 2:53 pm:

    Mendoza’s page also mentions Aaron Schock’s friendship and campaign contribution… trying for the hat trick? /s


  45. - Ike - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 3:26 pm:

    Birdseed - I guess 19% is larger than the 81% that didn’t say/insulate that this could be Trump related this morning. Silly me /s


  46. - Ike - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 4:01 pm:

    Insinuate - not insulate


  47. - Ike - Friday, Nov 30, 18 @ 4:09 pm:

    Insinuate - not “insulate”


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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