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FBI raids offices of powerful alderman, property tax attorney Ed Burke

14th Ward Alderman Ed Burke and Burke’s office covered in brown paper during a raid by federal agents (Credit: Flickr and Twitter)

FBI agents executed search warrants on the political offices of Alderman Ed Burke (14th), the powerful chairman of the City Council Finance Committee and a property tax attorney known for helping win lowered tax assessments on Trump International Hotel & Tower.

More than a dozen agents carried boxes into Burke’s City Hall office Thursday morning and covered the windows in brown paper, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. They also searched the alderman’s ward office on the city’s Southwest Side, and they walked out around 1:30 p.m. holding a file box and two computer monitors.

Agents did not search the offices of Burke’s law firm, Klafter & Burke, the Sun-Times reported. The reason for the raids remained a mystery Thursday afternoon.

Burke has faced multiple ethics investigations and countless conflict-of-interest accusations during the 49 years he’s represented the 14th Ward, which includes the now mostly-Hispanic neighborhoods of Archer Heights and Gage Park.

The 74-year-old alderman repeatedly has represented commercial property owners, including Donald Trump, who have sought planning and zoning approval from the city. The president disclosed last year he made more than $8 million off the tower at 401 North Wabash Avenue.

Congressman-elect and former mayoral candidate Jesus “Chuy” Garcia released a statement calling Burke “the last bastion of Chicago machine politics,” saying he “has used his position to enrich himself and his political cronies.”

Garcia is backing Burke’s opponent in the upcoming aldermanic elections, and he’s called Burke’s work on behalf of Trump an affront to Hispanic voters. [Chicago Sun-Times] — Alex Nitkin

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