So the City Council is set to sign the Mayor’s 2016 blank check and will give oversight of our taxes for the games to Alderman Ed Burke, Chairman of the City Council Finance Committee.
This clearly won’t work for Chicago’s taxpayers. The Alderman has so many conflict of interests representing firms that do business with the city that he has become a millionaire. He regularly uses the city government for his personal gain.
Although he chairs the Finance Committee which has a huge staff and multi-million dollar budget he hasn’t exercised oversight over anything that we can see, including the parking meeter rip off. Crain’s Chicago ran a front page story titled “Amid Crisis, Where’s Ed?”
The council’s cursory review and quick approval of the $1.16-billion, 75-year parking-meter lease, designed to help fill a $469-million budget deficit, spurred some aldermen to call for a more-activist finance committee. Currently, the committee devotes much of its time to legal claims against the city, employee benefits issues and other routine matters.
The Crain’s report notes Mr. Burke’s ability to raise campaign contributions from firms that do business with the city.
He rakes in campaign contributions, some from companies like Bank of America Corp., CenterPoint Properties Trust, Commonwealth Edison Co. and Cole Taylor Bank that do business with the city and with Mr. Burke’s law firm. At last count, his campaign fund totaled $3.7 million — more than any other alderman’s. Among recent contributions was $3,000 from Patrick Ryan, the former Aon Corp. CEO who chairs the Chicago 2016 Olympics committee. In his latest disclosure statement filed with the city, Mr. Burke reported receiving at least $5,000 in 2008 from each of 31 law clients that also do business with the city. His firm, Klafter & Burke, is known for its work on property tax appeals.
Hold the phone! Patrick Ryan gave Burke $3,000?! Surely, THAT’S GOT TO BE a conflict of interest? But wait, there’s more. An examination of Burke’s 2008 “Statement of Financial Interest” reveals that the Alderman listed ten clients who are major donors to the 2016 Committee!
Bank of America, Chicago & N.E. Il District Council of Carpenters, Commonwealth Edison, Dominick’s, Harris Bank, MB Real Estate, Northern Trust Company, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, U.S. Equities Realty and William Wrigley Jr. Company are all clients of Mr. Burke and they or a related entity all made contributions of cash or service to the 2016 Committee. Exact amounts of donations are not listed on the 2016 reports, but these contributions are worth AT LEAST $1,000.000. Download our analysis of his conflicts.
No Games Chicago has always predicted that our aldermen would abandon their duty to protect taxpayer interests and go along with the Mayor’s Olympic blank check. With their placement of Alderman Burke at the helm of so called “oversight,” the sheep have sent the fox to watch the wolves. Download our press release.