Ed Burke: Federal agents raid Chicago offices of Trump’s former tax consultant

It remains unclear if the raid has to do with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's escalating investigation

Chris Riotta
New York
Friday 30 November 2018 05:19 GMT
Trump's former tax consultant has offices raided by federal agents

Large sheets of brown paper covered the glass walls to the City Hall offices of Chicago Alderman Ed Burke on Thursday, as federal agents raided the place of work for Donald Trump’s longtime former tax consultant.

The offices were shut down upon the arrival of the federal officials, who quickly obstructed views into the rooms they remained in throughout the day. Mr Burke is reported to have worked closely with the president for nearly 12 years in cutting property taxes for his Trump Tower in Chicago by more than $14m.

Nearly 15 agents brought boxes inside the offices at about 7:30am local time, with a few of them eventually making their way into an underground parking garage across the way while searching for Mr Burke’s vehicle.

The 74-year-old Democrat chairs the City Council’s finance committee. He’s also a partner at a property-tax law firm. It was reported in June of this year that Mr Trump had stopped using Mr Burke as a consultant, with the alderman citing “irreconcilable differences” in letters filed with the Cook County courts and the Illinois State Property Tax Appeal Board.

It appeared the raid was coming to a close just after 1:00 pm, with the remaining agents exiting the offices through the back door just before 2:00 pm carrying a computer, two monitors and a cardboard file box, the Chicago Sun Times reported Thursday.

Mr Burke’s family responded with shock and confusion to news of the raid, with the alderman’s brother and state representative Dan Burke telling the Times he was confident of his sibling’s innocence no matter the cause.

“It’s shocking. I don’t know what to think,” he said Thursday. “I don’t have a clue. Any time there is this type of thing, where they come in and paper your windows, certainly that’s a concern. But I know my brother. For his entire life and career he’s been abiding by the law.”

Mr Burke’s wife, Ann Burke, who serves on the Illinois Supreme Court, was sworn into the top court the same day of the raid.

The alderman’s location at the time of the raid — as well as during his wife’s swearing-in ceremony, which reportedly took place inside her offices — remained unclear as of Thursday afternoon.

Mr Burke has come under scrutiny in recent years for numerous business dealings throughout his tenure in office, including a $100m compensation fund for city workers that was operated our of his committee.

Support free-thinking journalism and attend Independent events

The state’s Inspector General was reportedly unable to look into those funds with transparency during an investigation into Mr Burke, as it was walled off from the watchdog offices.

A message left at Burke’s ward office wasn’t returned. There was no answer at his City Hall office. His law office declined comment. The White House also did not respond to requests for comment.

Additional reporting by AP.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in