Democrat Ed Burke Blocks Property Tax Appeals Tied to His Law Firm

 In Illinois, News, Nic Zito, Property Taxes, Taxes
Alderman Ed Burke of the Chicago Democratic Machine

Chicago Alderman Ed Burke | Kate Gardiner / Wikimedia Commons

Chicago Democratic Alderman Ed Burke has made the news again because of the questionable connections between his law firm and it’s client’s property tax appeals in Chicago.

Just like Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan, Ed Burke is a partner in a law firm specializing in property tax appeals. These firms have made millions of dollars by appealing the assessed values of some of the most expensive properties in Illinois.

When these property tax lawyers save their corporate clients millions of dollars in property taxes, the burden for making up the difference falls onto other property and homeowners who can’t hire a well-connected law firm to appeal their tax bills.

Conflicts of interest have been common for Ed Burke, who has served 48 years on the Chicago City Council.

He recently contributed to the campaign of Nic Zito, which had many people questioning why the influential Democrat was supporting a “Republican” candidate for the Illinois 49th District.

Read below for the latest story questioning Burke about conflicts of interest between his law firm and tax assessments.

Here is the original story as reported by Chicago Tribune:

Influential Ald. Ed Burke has sidelined an effort to increase the property taxes paid by the owners of two buildings his law firm represents on assessment appeals, a move one Chicago City Council colleague and ethics experts say could violate conflict-of-interest rules.

The issue arose last week after 22nd Ward Ald. Ricardo Munoz, joined by nearly two dozen aldermen, introduced a measure that would force Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration to take legal steps to try to increase the assessed property values of seven prime commercial buildings. Munoz contended the properties were sold for more than twice as much as Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios valued them.

The proposal was spurred by “The Tax Divide,” an investigation published by the Chicago Tribune and ProPublica Illinois that found many large commercial properties are under-assessed, punishing small businesses and shifting more of the tax burden onto homeowners.

On Munoz’s list are two properties owned by companies that Burke’s law firm has saved millions of dollars in property taxes by filing successful appeals to lower assessment values that are used to determine tax bills. The lower the assessment, the less paid in taxes.


This story originally appeared in the Chicago Tribune on January 24, 2018, and was written by Hal Dardick.


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