Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Sun-Times: FBI agents raid ward office of Ald. Carrie Austin #Ward34

I was shocked to see this to be honest:
FBI agents executed a search warrant Wednesday morning on the Far South Side ward office of Ald. Carrie Austin (34th).

The search marks the latest step in ongoing, widespread federal investigations of Chicago aldermen.

Three aldermen who were once the City Council’s most powerful — Edward M. Burke, Danny Solis and now Austin — have either been charged or implicated in the biggest scandal in the City Council’s sordid history of corruption.

So far, Burke (14th) has been indicted on political corruption charges, and former Ald. Solis (25th) has cooperated with the investigation by wearing a wire for the feds and secretly recording conversations. Burke has denied any wrongdoing, and Austin has not been charged with any crimes. Austin, 70, is second in seniority on the City Council after Burke.

After the Sun-Times first reported that Solis was wearing a wire, Austin told reporters: “Not about Danny. I might cry,” Austin said. “You don’t do that. You just don’t.”
I was hoping there was any video anywhere on this raid. All I could find was this video on twitter from CBS 2's Megan Hickey who was outside of Ald. Austin's offices as federal authorities executed their search warrant
Since we hit upon her response to knowlegde that now former Alderman Danny Solis was wearing a wire to cooperate with federal authorities I see this from fellow Aldermen regarding Ald. Austin:
Austin’s fellow aldermen — including veterans who have served alongside her for years—were keeping their heads down Wednesday afternoon and their mouths shut about the raid on Austin’s ward office.

Aldermen privately complained that the raid on Austin’s office has strengthened the mayor’s hand when it comes to her new drive to strip aldermen of their iron-fisted control over zoning and create an independent commission to redraw Chicago’s ward boundaries to coincide with the 2020 U.S. Census.

Hours after taking office, Lightfoot signed an executive order ending aldermanic prerogative over zoning and permitting. She needs City Council approval to implement a similar change over zoning. Until Wednesday, the City Council was expected to put up a fight.
Not to make a prediction because who knows how these search warrants, informants wearing a wire, indictments and other parts of the justice system process shakes out. However, I got to say if this sticks and Ald. Austin has some dirt for an indictment in addition to whatever Burke and Solis might face once they go through their trials we're going to have a city councils shake-up! 

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