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Monday, March 27, 2023
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Should Justice Burke be held somewhat responsible for her husband’s dealings?




CHICAGO – Earlier this week, Illinois Review readers showed their outrage with the Illinois Supreme Court's pick for their next chief justice to be Anne Burke, the wife of longtime Chicago Alderman Ed Burke – who is facing federal corruption charges.

Over 4600 readers "liked" the story about Justice Burke on Facebook (normally 10% of the story readers) – indicating an unusual interest, and in many cases disgust with the story. The question has become, "Should Justice Burke be held somewhat responsible for her husband's dealings, or should she be honored with the highest judicial post in the state?"

The Burkes' story isn't limited.

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Friday, the Better Government Association rolled out a story about Alderman Burke and two colleagues that appear to have used the Chicago City Council to save Burke's property tax clients millions by passing resolutions that allowed those clients lower business property assessments. 

From the Better Government Association's report, 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.

The BGA then included a copy of the amended resolution signature: 

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(The "Honorable Patrick D. Thompson" which signed onto the resolution scratching through Alderman Burke's id is the grandson of late Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley, and nephew of Chicago's former Mayor Richard M. Daley.)

Thus, the BGA's find raises more questions about how Chicago property taxpayers may have been ripped off by their representatives to the City Council because they chose not to be clients of the Burke law firm. 

In light of all this, the question is raised – should Justice Burke's service in the elected Illinois Supreme Court be affected by her husband's business and political dealings, or is she entirely separate? 

And could this be the final straw for overburdened taxpayers that refuse to address a corrupt political system in Illinois? 

It remains to be seen if anything can raise the ire of Illinois taxpayers.


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  1. It is an obvious conflict of interest on the part of Alderman Burke. His wife should also be thoroughly investigated to determine if there might have been ethical lapses on her part as she served on the judicial system. Knowledge of a crime or knowledge of ongoing crime without reporting it is aiding and abetting. They don’t reward those individuals who turn a “blind eye” toward a crime but instead a punishment should be handed out forthwith to those people aiding or turning a blind-eye toward the crime.