Old video of Susana Mendoza hugging Ed Burke creates new stir in Chicago mayor's race

Craig Wall Image
Tuesday, January 8, 2019
Old video of Mendoza hugging Burke creates new stir in mayor's race
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Some old video is stirring up new fireworks in the race for Chicago mayor.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Some old video is stirring up new fireworks in the race for Chicago mayor.

The video raised new questions about State Comptroller Susana Mendoza's connections with troubled Chicago Alderman Ed Burke.

RELATED: Ed Burke, longtime Chicago alderman, charged with attempted extortion

Back in 2010 Mendoza was chummy with Burke after he introduced her, with a hug, when she announced her run for City Clerk. Now Burke has become like the boogie man in the race for mayor; federal investigators are about the only ones who want anything to do with him these days.

"Thank you so very much, Alderman Burke, you are a true champion of mine. He is really primarily the reason why I stand before you today," Mendoza said in the 2010 video. Now she finds herself the latest candidate battling Burke-itis.

Mendoza pointed Burke has endorsed Gery Chico in the race for mayor, and that it was Toni Preckwinkle who, a year ago, got a $10,000 campaign donation, rejected days later, from a business owner Burke is accused of trying to extort.

Preckwinkle said she will return $116,000 Burke raised for her at a fundraiser held at his home.

RELATED: Toni Preckwinkle calls for resignation of Ald. Ed Burke from City Council after attempted extortion charge

The Burke fallout prompted numerous calls for reform at City Hall.

"I am calling today for a ban on outside employment for aldermen," said 49th Ward Alderman Joe Moore. "As Alderman Burke's indictment shows, conflicts inevitably arise when aldermen hold outside jobs."

RELATED: Alderman Ed Burke to seek re-election after attempted extortion charge

As part of a package of reforms, the Progressive Caucus called for a forensic audit of the Workers Compensation Fund that Burke controlled with zero oversight.

"It's a new year, and things are gonna be different. We are not all crooks," said 16th Ward Alderman Toni Foulkes.

Dr. Willie Wilson, also running for mayor, fired a broadside of his own.

"My suggestion would be for all them to resign, I think Toni Preckwinkle should resign her other job and get out the mayor race," Wilson said.

"Chicago's effort to clean up its act and to have a government worthy of its people then mayoral candidates Toni Preckwinkle, Susana Mendoza and Gery Chico should immediately withdraw their candidacies for mayor," said Paul Vallas, candidate for mayor.

Vallas, holding a broom in hand at City Hall, said it's time for a clean sweep in the race. But he has his own Burke baggage; while City Hall Budget Director, Vallas was quoted in 1996 as calling Burke his "chief confidant" and took a $1,000 donation from him in 2002.

"I worked with everybody in the city council, but Burke never endorsed me, and he never raised money for me," Vallas said.

Mayoral candidate Bill Daley proposed reducing the city council from 50 aldermen to 15, while trying to downplay the Burke stink hanging over the Chicago political scene.

"I've had a political relationship with Ed for years, so I'm not saying that anybody is better than the other, and it's not about Ed Burke," said Daley.

Daley said it's just time to make some changes in the aldermanic system, which he called out of date.

Burke's resignation as chairman of the finance committee was effective Monday at 5 p.m. At that point he lost his security detail and his car privilege.