What City Hall corruption costs Chicago business

A federal complaint detailing attempted extortion charges against City Council potentate Edward Burke pulls back the curtain on an experience that’s all too familiar to Chicago businesspeople.

For generations, local companies ranging from small retailers to sizable manufacturers have endured the pressures Burke allegedly applied to Houston Foods, owner of a Burger King restaurant in his ward. According to the complaint unsealed yesterday, the powerful 14th Ward alderman, who stepped down today as chairman of the City Council Finance Committee, held up permitting for the restaurant in an effort to force Houston to hire Burke’s law firm for property tax work. Burke denies the charges.