Working with the FBI, Alderman Danny Solis secretly recorded colleague Alderman Ed Burke for two years before Burke was charged with trying to extort a restaurant owner in exchange for property tax appeal work.
Solis (25th) helped federal investigators build their case against Burke (14th), who allegedly delayed the processing of city permits for a South Side Burger King because the franchise owner wouldn’t hire Burke’s law firm, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, which reported the revelation.
Solis, who serves as a gatekeeper for development in Chicago as chairman of the City Council’s Zoning Committee, already announced he would not seek re-election next month. Amid the revelation he served as a mole to help prosecute one of his council colleagues, Solis now is prepared to step down from the Council, the Sun-Times reported.
Burke has denied any wrongdoing, and Solis did not return a request for comment from the paper.
Solis’ ward covers most of Pilsen, where he’s been a one-man approval board for all significant construction in one of the city’s most rapidly-gentrifying neighborhoods. The ward also includes slices of the West Loop, South Loop and Chinatown, plus the 62-acre plot where Related Midwest is planning its $7 billion “The 78” mega-development.
For more than two years he has been at odds with New York-based Property Markets Group over the firm’s plans for a major Pilsen development known as Parkworks. Solis’ insistence the developer boost the amount of affordable housing in the project led PMG to launch a legal challenge that’s still pending. [Chicago Sun-Times] — John O’Brien