A request to Investigate Alderman Edward and IL Supreme Court Judge Ann Burke
 

Karyn Mehringer, MA

      Forensic Psychology

6688 Joliet Rd., #115

Indian Head Park, IL  60525

(708) 323-6040

___________________________________________________________________________

Tuesday, January 22, 2008                                                                                           

 

Justice Thomas R. Fitzgerald

Illinois Supreme Court (District 1)

160 N. La Salle St., 14th Floor                  
Chicago, IL 60601

RE: Request for Investigation of Justice Anne Burke and Alderman Ed Burke

Dear Justice Fitzgerald,

A year ago you appointed Ann Burke to the Supreme Court of Illinois. I am sure you were not aware of the very serious allegations that were made against her in the book When Corruption was King by Robert Cooley (2004). According to the book, Justice Burke is accused of being involved in fixing a murder case where a husband violently killed his wife so he could collect the $250,000 insurance policy. Furthermore, she was also accused of attempting to fix a molesting case in front of a judge her husband helped elect. While on the Appellate Court she voted to return the Emerald Casino License (worth $500 M) to the late former Mayor Donald Stephens and his group after it was revoked because a number of investors were personal friends of hers and her husband Ald. Burke.

 

I am co-founder of the non-profit organization known as Illinois Family Court Accountability Advocates (IFCAA) which was created to stop the public corruption in the family courts in Illinois that is hurting the children of Illinois families.

 

Multiple IFCAA co-members, including myself, have had or are having our cases heard in the domestic relations court of the Circuit Court of Cook County in which it is apparent that rampant, unchecked, improper, and illegal activities have taken and are taking place.

It is clear that the corruption does not just involve a few judges and attorneys on the trial level.  The material evidence in court records reveals that the corruption is systemic up through the reviewing courts.  Further research has revealed that a critical intervention point is with the individual primarily responsible for which attorneys end up on the Chicago bench, specifically, Alderman Edward Burke.

One could argue with confidence that there is no way Chicago’s court system can or will be cleaned up until there is an investigation of Alderman Ed Burke and his wife, the newest appointee of the Illinois Supreme Court, Justice Anne Burke.

 

I have read the book, When Corruption Was King, by Robert Cooley, and have been in contact with him.  Mr. Cooley is the former criminal attorney who was responsible for the FBI investigation, Operation Gambat, which resulted in the successful prosecution and conviction of three judges, one alderman, several attorneys, and multiple other Circuit Court of Cook County and City of Chicago officials.  After reading Mr. Cooley’s book, I researched other sources regarding the professional and personal backgrounds of Justice Anne Burke and her husband, Edward, the longtime alderman from the 14th Ward, and the powerful and influential chairman of Chicago’s City Council's finance committee and chairman of the Democratic Party’s judicial slate-making subcommittee, the alleged “gatekeeper” of who becomes a judge in Chicago’s courts.

 

As a resident of the State of Illinois, I am writing to you and all your colleagues on the Illinois Supreme Court to formally request an investigation of Justice Anne Burke and her husband as well as others who were specifically named by Mr. Cooley in his book, When Corruption Was King.  I am formally requesting that you, as a Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court, cause an investigation to be initiated by the appropriate authorities. 

I respectfully call your attention to the information and allegations presented herein as well as to your Oath of Office, and to the absolute duty to report misconduct of judges and attorneys under Illinois Supreme Court Rules, which rules mandate an investigation of the allegations herein. [Code of Judicial Conduct Rule 63 (B)(3)(a) and/or Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 8.3(a)&(b); See Endnotes.]  Further, the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern District opinion entered on November 1, 2005 in Case No. 05 C 0283, Golden and Golden v. Nadler, Pritikin & Mirabelli, LLC, et al, stated in pertinent part, “The court notes that Illinois attorneys have an absolute duty to report misconduct of other attorneys. See Skolnick v. Altheimer & Gray, 191 Ill.2d 214, 226, 730 N.E.2d 4, 246 Ill. Dec. 324 (2000)”

In Mr. Cooley’s book, he specifically stated that Alderman Ed Burke contacted Judge Cieslak, recently deceased, regarding at least two murder cases and tried to influence his decision on those cases.  In his book, that was printed and distributed nationally, Mr. Cooley stated that Alderman Ed Burke and his wife, Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke, were involved in a molestation case that he, himself, was asked to fix.  After these allegations were published, when Alderman Ed Burke and his wife, Justice Anne Burke, were asked to comment on the allegations, they stated, “No comment.”

These and other very serious allegations that were made sometime ago about these individuals have gone unopposed and uninvestigated  After these allegations were made public, Justice Anne Burke was appointed to the Illinois Supreme Court and her attorney husband, Alderman Ed Burke, has been allowed to remain as Chairman of the Democratic Committee that slates judges.

After I read the book, I was able to make contact with Robert Cooley and he told me that he was informed years ago that Ed Burke was to be indicted for a number of illegal activities he was involved in, including the fixing of murder cases. He also told me that there were a number of cases he was involved in fixing and a number of other illegal activities and yet no one from any state investigative agencies ever contacted him or the late Judge Cieslak nor anyone else who witnessed illegal acts involving the Burkes. [He indicated that the Burkes are still involved in alleged illicit activities including recently attempting to get the Emerald City Casino license returned to a number of close friends.]  He told me that within the past year, Judge Cieslak gave an interview to two members of the media in which Judge Cieslak verified that all the allegations made in Cooley’s book were true. After the judge gave the interview, the two separate reporters specifically told Mr. Cooley that they were “not allowed to do the story because it involves Ed Burke.”

Mr. Cooley told me that he has talked to a number of people and has provided information about Ed and Anne Burke similar to that which resulted in indictments and convictions in Operation Gambit.  He told me that major newspaper and television entities flat out told him that they could not do a substantive story on Ed Burke or Anne Burke.

Cammon and Remy Murder Cases

In his book, Mr. Cooley stated Ed Burke and Anne Burke along with Attorney Pat Tuite fixed a murder case before Judge Maloney.  Herbert Cammon’s case was a murder case in which it was alleged that Herbert Cammon, a gay black man, murdered his wife with the help of his gay lover by stabbing her over 40 times and leaving the knife sticking out of her mouth.  It was alleged that he murdered his wife to obtain the proceeds of a $250,000 life insurance policy. The case was originally assigned to Judge Arthur Ceilsik.  After a mistrial because of a hung jury, Ed Burke approached Judge Cieslik and told him to withdraw from the case. When the judge refused to withdraw from the case, he told the judge, “What’s the big deal.  It’s only a fucking nigger.”[1] Ed Burke’s wife, Anne, had filed an appearance in the case as co-counsel with Pat Tuite.  Anne Burke also requested that the judge withdraw from the case saying, “My husband was the one who put you on the bench.”  [Judge Cieslek lived in the 14th ward.]  When the judge finally withdrew from the case due to media pressure initiated by the attorneys, the case was assigned to Judge Tom Maloney.  Judge Maloney dismissed the case in a bench trial.  Cooley revealed that he was wearing a wire when the aforementioned events took place such that the FBI was fully informed.  Cooley revealed that he was in communication with Judge Cieslik and he tried to encourage the judge to not let the case go.  He also reported to the feds that the case would be assigned to Judge Maloney who would fix the case.

 

Mr. Cooley revealed that this was the second murder case that Ed Burke tried to fix before Judge Ceislak. Prior to the Cammon case, Cooley wrote about a murder case that Ed Burke tried to fix before Judge Cieslik as a favor to one of the mob bosses, Angelo “The Hook” LaPeitra. This was the Remy murder case in which some Chicago Police officers beat a black man to death for smoking on an “L” train. Cooley stated in the book that one of the police officers was a relative of LaPeitra.  He also reported that when Ed Burke was talking to Attorney Sam Banks, Ed Burke made similar racist statements as in the Cammon murder case, specifically, “It’s only a fucking nigger. I can’t see whey the judge is making such a big deal about it.”    

 

He also reported that when Ed Burke was in Counselors Row he made a similar racist statement as in the Cammon case. When he specifically said to the group at the First Ward table “I can’t see why the judge is making such a big deal about it. It’s only a fucking nigger.”

 

At the time the book came out, Anne Burke was a sitting judge on the appellate bench and she never sued the author or publisher when they made these statements.  The accusations appear to be true. 

 

A report by Abdon M. Pallasch from Chicago Lawyer dated January 1998 stated that WBBM-TV reported “U.S. Attorney’s Office investigated rumors in 1988 that [Ed] Burke bribed judges to fix two murder cases.”

 

Why weren’t Anne Burke and/or Ed Burke questioned about their involvement in the Cammon or Remy murder cases? If there was an investigation, why weren’t Judge Arthur Cieslik or Attorney Robert Cooley interviewed? 

 

Moffat Child Molestation Case

 

Mr. Cooley also made statements about other allegations made about Ed Burke and attorney Anne Burke being involved in another high profile molesting case (that was the James Moffat case, who was accused of official misconduct and criminal sexual assault on five students).

 

Relationships of the Retired Illinois Supreme Court Justice McMorrow, Alderman Burke, and Justice Burke

Justice Mary Ann McMorrow ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the Illinois Supreme Court as an independent Democrat. She did not win until 1992, after the Democratic Party slated her with the backing of Ed and Anne Burke.

 

In 1995, Supreme Court Justice McMorrow appointed Attorney Anne Burke to fill the vacancy of Judge Carl McCormick on the Appellate Court despite Burke having never served as a trial court judge in the lower Circuit Court.  Then Justice Burke was elected in 1996 to keep her seat on the Appellate Court

 

Fran Speilman of the Chicago Sun-Times memorialized the unethical, dishonest and illegal appointment of Anne Burke to the Appellate Ct. in April of 2006 stating “In 1996, Michael Casey and Michael McCafferty filed to run against Anne Burke, giving the appearance of a crowded field that discouraged other competitors. They both dropped out after the filing deadline, leaving Anne Burke unopposed. Casey and McCafferty were partners in the law firm of former Ald. Edward R. Vrdolyak (10th), Ed Burke's longtime friend and political cohort.”

 

Moreover, a report by Abdon M. Pallasch from Chicago Lawyer dated January 1998, asserted that Alderman. Burke’s "formidable clout helped orchestrate a clear path for his wife to win a seat on the Appellate Court unopposed."  The two individuals running against Justice Burke withdrew two weeks before the election leaving no time for anyone to run against her. Apparently more than “clout” was involved.  The two individuals who withdrew at the last minute were partners in Ed Burke’s good friend, Ed Vrdolyak’s law firm indicating election fraud. 

 

Despite the well-known allegations that Anne Burke was involved in fixing cases detailed in When Corruption Was King, Justice McMorrow recommended Anne Burke fill her vacancy on the Illinois Supreme Court when she retired in July 2006.  The relationships of Justice McMorrow, Ed Burke, and Anne Burke detailed herein evidence a clear conflict of interest.

 

The Tribune wrote in a sidebar to its April 6, 2006 story, "Since McMorrow is retiring after the state primary has taken place, an election for her seat won't take place until 2008," and "At the next election cycle the vacant seat is open to other candidates."  In other words, McMorrow apparently waited until after the primary so the system could allegedly once again be manipulated and Justice Burke could be appointed to yet another Illinois higher court.

 

In light of the entirety of the allegations herein, especially McMorrow’s participation in the rendering of the opinion to re-instate the license of an attorney involved in Ed Burke’s ghost-payroll scheme outlined below, the relationships of retired Justice McMorrow, Alderman Burke, and Justice Burke warrant investigation.

 

Past and Present Attorneys of the Law Firm of Jenner & Block, Past and Present Attorneys of the US Attorney’s Office, Justice Burke, Alderman Burke, and the Personal Relationship of the Burkes with Individuals in the Recent Emperor Casino Case

On May 18, 2006, due to Justice McMorrow’s participation in the opinion just prior to her retirement, the Illinois Supreme Court reinstated the law license of Joseph Martinez-Fraticelli in the case In re Joseph Anthony Martinez-Franticelli [Case No. 101317]. Joseph Martinez-Fraticelli, a former employee of Alderman Edward M. Burke's law firm, received salary and benefits for seven years for nonexistent City Hall work. Martinez-Franticelli was disbarred in 1998 after being convicted of receiving salary and benefits for seven years in Burke’s ghost-payrolling scheme.

 

Specifically, from 1985 to 1992, Martinez-Fraticelli picked up biweekly paychecks while working as a ghost payroller for three City Council committees including Burke's Finance Committee.  At the same time, he was securing a substantial annual salary as an attorney for Ed Burke’s law firm, Klafter and Burke.  Martinez-Franticelli testified that in 1985 he asked the firm to provide him with health insurance benefits. [See attached pages from Supreme Court opinion.]

 

In 1997, Alderman Burke, while Chicago City Council Finance Committee Chairman, hired criminal defense attorney Anton Valukas, a former U.S. Attorney, to represent him in the federal ghost payrolling investigation, in a clear conflict of interest.  Specifically, when Valukas was Assistant US Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, he was supposed to indict Ed Burke for ghost payrolling and other allegedly illegal acts but he later resigned from the US Attorney’s Office and then represented Burke in the federal ghost payrolling investigation. Burke has never been charged.  Further, Anton Valukas of Jenner & Block was just named as the new chairman replacing Jerold Solovy who recently retired. (see below)  

 

Prior, in 1992, Alderman. Burke hired Jenner & Block to defend him and other alderman in the re-mapping the City of Chicago’s wards litigation in which Burke, as Chairman of the Finance Committee, had sole control over the estimated $7.5 million payment to Jenner & Block from taxpayers’ funds.  

 

It has been reported, “In response to the federal investigation in Cook County of organized crime and political and judicial corruption known as Operation Gambat, the Illinois Supreme Court appointed a Special Commission on the Administration of Justice on January 8, 1992. Appointed to chair the study, due December 31, 1993, was Jerold S. Solovy, senior partner in Chicago's Jenner & Block law firm. Solovy headed a similar commission that studied Cook County courts from 1984 to 1988 in the aftermath of the federal Operation Greylord of the early 1980s.”  Mr. Solovy was paid an estimated $1 million dollars of taxpayers’ funds by the Illinois Supreme Court. Few of the recommendations made in the reports produced by the first or second Solovy Commissions have been instituted and there is no evidence that even a dent has been made in the organized crime and political and judicial corruption in Chicago’s courts.  It has been reported that federal officials agree that “Operation Greylord was the tip of the iceberg.”  Despite the fact that Jerold Solovy was well-aware that Anne Burke, herself, was accused of alleged corruption, she was appointed as a member of the Solovy Committee.

 

Emerald Casino

It has been reported that both Ald. Ed Burke and Justice Anne Burke were close personal friends with a number of investors in the Emerald Casino including the late former Mayor Don Stephens who wanted the casino in Rosemont.

 

When Justice Burke was on the appellate court, she participated in the ruling that the revocation of the Emerald Casino license be reversed. This was a clear conflict of interest and possible direct violation of rules of the Supreme Court Code of Judicial Conduct given the reported relationship of the Burkes with involved investors.  It has been estimated that the casino license is worth approximately $500 million and that the investors were at risk of losing their investment of $50 million.

 

The Emperor Casino case is set to be heard before the Illinois Supreme Court which it has been alleged is related to why Justice Burke is now on Illinois’ highest court.  Ed and Anne Burke, as public officials, have clear conflict of interests in this matter which it could be argued is in direct violation of Illinois law.

 

Justice Anne Burke acting as a Lobbyist

 

During my research into stories printed about the Burkes, I also found the report that when Justice Anne Burke was a sitting judge she received approximately $30,000 to be a lobbyist.

I am under information and belief that a sitting judge can not be involved in outside work. Was she a registered lobbyist? Shouldn’t this be investigated? I am certain she was never listed or registered as a lobbyist.

 

Former Judge Arthur Cieslik interviewed by two Chicago Political Reporters

 

Prior to Honorable Arthur Cieslik demise this past December, he gave two interviews with Political Reporters Carlos Hernandez-Gomes (CLTV and WTTW-TV) and Abdon Pallasch of the Chicago Sun-Times. It has been revealed to me that the former Judge Cieslik stated in a taped interview to Mr. Hernandez-Gomes that Ald. Burke was responsible for slating him as judge and that during their relationship Judge Cieslik knew him to be a racist as stated above Ald. Burke approached Judge Cieslik on a number of cases before him about fixing cases.

 

Political Report, Carlos Hernandez-Gomes also interviewed the former Judge Cieslik’s daughter, several FBI agents and Robert Cooley. After spending several months investigating the allegations and reviewing court records, Mr. Hernandez-Gomes tried to contact the Burkes for a response. The Burkes refused to meet with Mr. Hernandez-Gomes stating “no comment.” Mr. Hernandez-Gomes was not allowed to run the story.

 

Abdon Pallasch wrote many articles on the Burkes also interviewed the former Judge and investigated the allegations against them but was also not allowed to run the story.

 

It appears that as long as Ed Burke, chairman of the Finance Committee is allowed to collect and expend city funds unimpeded for his re-election campaigns the local media will never allow him or his wife to be exposed.

 

Conclusion

 

Herein are some very serious allegations about an attorney who is also the Chairman of the Finance Committee responsible for passing out hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ dollars to hand-picked attorneys, law firms, and businesses to whom they then arguably become beholden.

 

Could this be one of the reasons why there has been no formal investigation of the Burkes?  Could this be one of the reasons why the media refuses to do substantive stories on the Burkes?

 

On behalf of the victims of Illinois’ family courts and the tax-burdened residents of Cook County and as a resident of the State of Illinois, I beseech you to obey your Oath of Office and fiduciary contract funded by taxpayers’ monies and, under Supreme Court Rules, I beseech you to obey your mandatory duty to report misconduct of judges and attorneys as well as to promote public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary by initiating an investigation of Justice Anne Burke and Alderman Ed Burke before next year’s election.

 

Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

Karyn L. Mehringer, MA

 

CC:      Justice Robert R. Thomas, Chief Justice (District 2)

Justice Charles E. Freeman (District 1)

Justice Thomas R. Fitzgerald (District 1) 

Justice Thomas L. Kilbride (District 3)

Justice Rita B. Garman (District 4)

Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier (District 5)

Justice Anne M. Burke (District 1)

 

BCC 

 

Endnotes:

 

Illinois Supreme Court Code of Judicial Conduct Rule 63(B)(3)(a): "A judge having knowledge of a violation of these canons on the part of a judge or a violation of Rule 8.4 of the Rules of Professional Conduct on the part of a lawyer shall take or initiate appropriate disciplinary measures."

Illinois Supreme Court Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 8.3. Reporting Professional Misconduct:

“(a) A lawyer possessing knowledge not otherwise protected as a confidence by these Rules or by law that another lawyer has committed a violation of Rule 8.4(a)(3) or (a)(4) shall report such knowledge to a tribunal or other authority empowered to investigate or act upon such violation.

(b) A lawyer possessing knowledge not otherwise protected as a confidence by these Rules or by law that a judge has committed a violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct which raises a question as to the judge's fitness for office shall inform the appropriate authority.”

 

 

 

 



[1] While Daley and Stroger prepare to raise taxes, I was told that for the past fifteen years the City of Chicago spends an estimated one million dollars annually on the Burke’s personal security and limo service. I was told that this was initiated after Ed Burke’s “beef” with Mayor Washington after which Ed Burke was allegedly threatened by African Americans in the face of Ed Burke’s racist remarks.