Dear Member of the
International Olympic Committee:
Today the Chicago City Council Finance Committee voted to approve the signing of the Host City Contract and the Mayor's pledge to you that city taxpayers will cover all expenses of the 2016 games as needed.
The Aldermen also voted to make the Committee's Chairman, Ed Burke, a member of the Operating Committee should Chicago be awarded the games. He will be expected to exercise oversight over 2016 operations on behalf of the citizens of Chicago.
Unfortunately, Mr. Burke was exposed in today's Chicago Sun-Times as using Chicago tax dollars for his personal benefit.
Crain's Chicago Business recently did a story on Alderman Burke explaining how the powerful alderman exercises no oversight at all over the Mayor's financial plans. The article stated that Alderman Burke takes in hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions and legal fees from firms that do business with the city.
"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."
We point these developments out to you so you will understand the outrage that will follow from Chicago taxpayers.
The fence that Burke built
Powerful alderman spent $45,499 in taxpayer money to build a sidewalk
and fence longer than a football field that keeps teens from hanging
around the railroad track behind his home
years, the single railroad track south of Curie Metro High School on
the Southwest Side had been a hangout for teens and a cut-through for
commuters walking to and from the L's Orange Line station at Pulaski.
Then, a year ago, City Hall put up a wrought-iron fence south of the track, eliminating the shortcut.
CHRIS FUSCO and TIM NOVAK Staff Reporters- September 8, 2009
City taxpayers picked up the tab for the new wrought-iron fence and a sidewalk that directs pedestrians away from the house.
It was Burke's call to put in the fence and sidewalk.
He used his "aldermanic menu," a perk given to members of the
Chicago City Council. They're given money they can spend on whatever
public works projects they want in their wards.
Burke -- who didn't respond to requests for comment for this story
-- wanted the fence and sidewalk, each longer than a football field.
"I am asking that . . . funds be allocated to the Department of
Transportation for the purpose of installing a sidewalk along with a
wrought-iron fence from Harding to Pulaski on West 51st Street," Burke
said in an April 17, 2008, letter to city officials. "The reason for
the installation of the sidewalk and wrought-iron fence is to prevent
the students from Curie High School using this rail-road grade cross as
Burke estimated the work would cost taxpayers $25,000.
He was a bit off. By the time it was completed earlier this year,
the bill came to $45,499, city records show -- $14,079 for the
sidewalk, $31,420 for the wrought-iron fence.
That fence connects to the fence Burke already had around his
$900,000 home. Before, people could walk right alongside his property.
They can't anymore.
From Burke's property, the fence runs west between the railroad
track and a strip mall for a little less than a block, to Pulaski.
The fence has done some good, neighbors say. They credit it with
helping cut down on crime and fights and discouraging gang members from
"It's better than not having it," says one neighbor.
But he also says: "It's really for Curie kids to stay off the
tracks. Without that fence, they would go right past that house" --
pointing to Burke's house.
The alderman's home sits just south of the single track that, on
average, is used by nine trains a day, most of them passing at under 10
mph, state records show.
Another neighbor says it's obvious why the fence went up. And it's not to keep kids from crossing the track, she says.
"I think it's to keep that house safe," she says, pointing to
Burke's home. "If it was for the trains, they would have put it up a
long time ago."
Burke had the fence put up three years after his family moved into the house on the far southwest edge of his ward in 2005.
Work on the fence began late last year. It was finished in April, city records show.
Already, it's rusting.
This fence keeps people off a railroad track and away from the home (seen at top right) of Ald. Edward Burke (inset).
also stopped teens from hanging out by the neighborhood's newest and
biggest house -- built and occupied by one of the city's most powerful
politicians, Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th).