In a sharp break with City Hall convention, two Chicago aldermen fronted measures for now-indicted Ald. Edward Burke that steered millions of dollars in property tax breaks for Burke’s law clients in his Southwest Side ward.
The half-dozen measures found by the Better Government Association allowed Burke to skirt city conflict-of-interest rules. And some of the resulting tax break measures came even as federal agents quietly built their abuse-of-power case against him, the longest-sitting alderman in Chicago history.
In two instances, Burke’s name and ward number were scratched off official city resolutions and the other aldermen’s names and ward numbers were penciled in as sponsors of the measures.
Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson, 11th, and Ald. Michael R. Zalewski, who represented the 23rd Ward until he retired last year, sponsored the six tax break resolutions since 2011. The measures were for industrial businesses in Burke’s 14th Ward whose owners also were clients of Burke’s property tax law firm, Klafter & Burke.
Aldermen rarely sponsor resolutions that don’t involve their own wards, especially tax breaks for businesses. Of the 123 industrial tax incentive resolutions filed since 2011, all of them were sponsored by the local alderman except the ones identified by the BGA in Burke’s ward.
Go read the rest. Good stuff in there.