Developer linked to embattled Chicago alderman indicted

Federal authorities have accused a real estate developer of steering legal work to a powerful, embattled Chicago alderman in exchange for a permit and financing for a redevelopment project.

Charles Cui, 48, is charged with bribery, official misconduct and making a false statement to the FBI, according to an indictment made public Friday. The indictment doesn't refer to Alderman Ed Burke by name, but it describes him by his titles, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Burke, 75, was indicted this year on charges alleging that he tried to shake down a restaurant owner who wanted to build in his ward. He denies wrongdoing and is free on a $10,000 bond.

It's unclear if Burke will also face charges pertaining to the case against Cui. Neither Burke's lawyer, Charles Sklarsky, nor a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago immediately replied to messages seeking comment left Friday by The Associated Press.

When reached by the Chicago Sun-Times, Cui referred a reporter to his attorney but hung up after being asked who that was. Cui is a managing partner of a company that owned property on Chicago's northwest side.

Burke, who was re-elected in February, has been on the council for 50 years and for three decades has chaired its finance committee, which makes key decisions about how the city's budget is spent. The Democrat's law firm, Klafter & Burke, specializes in private property tax law.

Authorities allege that Cui moved to shift property tax appeal work to Burke's law firm after the city denied a permit for a sign for a retailer at Cui's project. The permit was important to Cui because a tenant would either cancel its lease or decrease rent payments without the sign, officials say.