Disgraced former Chicago Ald. Daniel Solis still receiving $95,000 public pension
The FBI detailed sex, drugs and corruption involving former Chicago Ald. Daniel Solis, but he is still receiving a nearly $95,000 public pension after cooperating with their probe.
A former Chicago alderman is getting a nearly $95,000 lifetime public pension after corruption allegations turned him into a central witness in the federal probe of City Hall.
Former Chicago Ald. Daniel Solis, 25th Ward, is receiving a pension of about $95,000 annually from his two decades on the City Council, according to the Chicago Tribune. Solis cooperated for two years in a federal corruption probe after the FBI developed evidence that he solicited campaign contributions, Viagra and prostitutes in exchange for political favors.
The FBI spent two years investigating corruption by Solis, who quickly cooperated after confronted with the evidence. Solis wore a wire for the FBI, with recordings leading to the 14-count federal corruption indictment against powerful 14th Ward Ald. Ed Burke. Burke has pleaded not guilty, but lost much of his power as well as his lucrative legal work on property tax appeals.
An FBI search warrant detailed how Solis kept a list of contributors and the city favors they sought. He took loans from contractors and repeatedly asked one for Viagra and prostitutes. Despite the allegations in a lengthy FBI search warrant from 2016, Solis has not been charged with any crimes and federal prosecutors have not commented on any immunity deal.
The new 25th Ward alderman, Byron Sigcho-Lopez, told the Tribune it’s not fair to city taxpayers that they are on the hook for Solis’s retirement income, despite his cooperation with the FBI.
Solis made $119,000 in each of his final years in office. He and other Chicago aldermen retire with 80% of their average salary after 20 years of service. Regular city employees receive 70% of their final salary and must work for 30 years. If he were convicted of a felony related to his public service, he would lose his pension benefits as would any city worker.
Despite a six-figure income, Solis’ finances have been shaky. Foreclosure was filed on his home and he borrowed from friends, his campaign and city contractors. Loans total $330,000 since 2004 from his campaign fund, according to the Tribune. He paid a $15,000 debt to the IRS with borrowed funds.
Last year, there were 15 former aldermen making over $100,000 a year from their pensions.
This year, the 30th alderman since 1972 was convicted of corruption.
Corruption costs Illinoisans $550 million a year. In a city already struggling with pensions and where the FBI is still busy investigating systemic corruption, Solis on the pension rolls pushes Chicagoans’ “corruption tax” even higher.