Danny Solis takes stand against Ed Burke in corruption trial 

Testimony shed light on Solis’ zoning power and Burke’s real estate influence

Danny Solis Takes Stand Against Ed Burke in Corruption Trial
Former aldermen Daniel Solis and Edward Burke (LinkedIn, Kate Gardiner, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons, Getty)

Daniel Solis, a former Chicago alderman and government mole who played a crucial role in the indictment of ex-alderman Edward Burke, finally took the stand in Burke’s federal corruption trial.

Solis, who wore a wire to record incriminating conversations of Burke, admitted that his actions were motivated by a desire to save himself rather than any sense of public duty, the Chicago Sun-Times reported

The trial has zeroed in on Burke’s alleged attempts to leverage his influence for personal gain, particularly in commercial real estate ventures. 

Burke faces 14 charges of racketeering, bribery and extortion. The case accuses the ex-alderman of misusing his political power to steer business to his law firm, Klafter & Burke, which specializes in property tax appeals before the Cook County Assessor’s Office and Board of Review. 

Burke’s attorney, Chris Gair, pressed Solis on his intentions, suggesting that Solis aimed to build a case against Burke. The exchange led to objections from prosecutors, who had rested their case after presenting 36 witnesses and playing 100 secret recordings.

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Gair questioned Solis about the nature of his cooperation, emphasizing that Solis had “frequently lied” while recording Burke. Solis acknowledged the deception but maintained that his goal was self-preservation rather than manipulating Burke’s statements. The defense had long promised to call Solis as a witness, painting him in their opening statements as a corrupt and dishonest figure.

Solis, the former chairman of the City Council’s zoning committee, played a key role in zoning decisions that could significantly impact developers.

Recordings presented in the trial provided a behind-the-scenes look at Burke’s dealings, including discussions related to the $600 million renovation of Chicago’s Old Post Office. Burke allegedly tried to shake down 601W, the developer behind the project.

Gair emphasized Solis’ alleged deceit in the recordings, which captured discussions about zoning recommendations and tax work tied to the Old Post Office development. Solis confirmed recording multiple individuals and meeting with the FBI numerous times during his cooperation.

—Quinn Donoghue 

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