A powerful Chicago alderman known for his ample police protection reportedly received voicemails threatening his life this week.
Alderman Ed Burke, the chairman of the City Council's finance committee and an alderman since 1969, says the messages were obscene and made threats on his life, according to WLS. And the Chicago Sun-Times's Michael Sneed has a bit more detail. "In one message, Hercog reportedly said he wanted to kill Burke; in another one he allegedly told the alderman he 'better keep his bodyguards' and that he hopes Rahm Emanuel takes them away," the voice said.
Authorities tracked the number behind these calls to the residence of one Timothy Hercog. The 62-year-old man is scheduled to appear in court on charges of threatening a public official Friday.
The bodyguards which Hercog allegedly referred to are a detail of Chicago police officers, including a squad car, assigned to guard Alderman Burke. In a debate, when asked about his future relationship with the city council, Mayor-Elect Rahm Emanuel said, "The City Council has to share in the sacrifice because the residents will be sharing in sacrifice, which means if Ed Burke has six police officers, that just can't continue."
Burke is widely believed to be the second-most powerful figure in Chicago politics after the mayor, and his relationship with City Hall is both critical and volatile. For many years, under black mayor Harold Washington, Burke was a part of the Vrdolyak 29, a group of white aldermen that fought Washington's agenda tooth-and-nail. But during Mayor Daley's administration, Burke has paved the way for the Council's rubber-stamping of much of the mayor's agenda.
Emanuel's victory in Tuesday's mayoral election leads many observers to believe that a power struggle is brewing between the incoming mayor and the clouted alderman. For now, at least, both will bring their escorts.