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Chicago Mayoral Candidates Try Distancing Themselves From Ald. Ed Burke After Corruption Charges

Chicago (CBS) -- The fallout from Ald. Ed Burke's federal corruption charges is already impacting Chicago's race for mayor. Candidates are working to distance themselves from the once powerful alderman.

Three candidates who've had close relationships with Burke are furiously pointing fingers at each other as to who is tighter with the tainted alderman.

But, one candidate is named by prosecutors as having received money as the result of Burke's alleged strong arm tactics.

"I'm dismayed by Ald. Burke's apparent abuse of his position of personal gain and breaking the public trust," Toni Preckwinkle said.

But, Preckwinkle no doubt is also dismayed by prosecutors' allegations that Ald. Ed Burke asked the Burger King owner he was allegedly shaking down to donate $10,000 to Preckwinkle's campaign for county board president.

"We investigated and determined the contribution was rejected," Preckwinkle said.

She said the $10,000 exceeded individual contribution limits and was sent back. But one question lingers: why would Burke have been making that solicitation for Preckwinkle's campaign? Preckwinkle said to ask Burke.

That's not Preckwinkle's only Burke connection. Last January, Burke hosted a fundraiser for Preckwinkle at his Gage Park mansion, which Preckwinkle's team says raised $116,000.

Preckwinkle claims the fundraiser was due to her ties with Burke's wife, supreme court justice Anne Burke, not the alderman.

"I have an eight-year relationship with Anne Burke for which I'm deeply grateful. She's been invaluable to our efforts on criminal justice reform.

Others have Burke ties too. Burke gave state comptroller Susana Mendoza her start in politics, and she once called Burke a mentor. She was even married in a civil ceremony at Burke's Gage Park home.

"I'm interested in Chicago and its reputation moving forward," Mendoza said. "It's always sad and disappointing when people you believed in turn out to get in this type of trouble."

Mayoral candidate Gery Chico also once worked for Burke, and Burke endorsed Chico for mayor. Now, says a Chico spokesman, "Gery has known Ed Burke for three decades and he's extremely disappointed. Gery will obviously not accept support from Ed Burke in the upcoming mayoral race."

Toni Preckwinkle had already called for Burke to step down as finance chair. She called for him to resign his aldermanic seat Friday.

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