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Clout bank sues Ald. Edward Burke’s son over failed Southwest Side project

Updated: August 16, 2013 6:05AM

A Northwest Side bank whose owners have long ties to City Hall is suing Ald. Edward M. Burke’s son and daughter-in-law for more than $600,000 over a failed development on the Southwest Side.

Belmont Bank’s owners include zoning attorney James Banks, a nephew of retired Ald. William Banks; trucking magnate Fred B. Barbara, a friend of former Mayor Richard M. Daley who got rich hauling the city’s garbage, and former state Sen. James DeLeo.

The bank says Edward M. Burke Jr., an assistant chief deputy to Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, and his wife Jacqueline Burke, who works for the clout-heavy United Neighborhood Organization, are on the hook for a loan they and two other couples got from the bank four years ago to redevelop the shuttered Froedtert Malt factory in the 2100 block of West 51st Place.

Belmont Bank and Kuhn Mechanical — which says it was owed nearly $650,000 for excavation work — sued when the project failed and they didn’t get all of their money.

Associate Cook County Judge Lisa Curcio ordered the vacant property sold at a sheriff’s sale. A company owned by Kuhn bought it.

The Burkes’ partners — developers Anthony DeGrazia and Michael Passarelli and their wives — filed for bankruptcy. That wiped out the guarantees they’d signed promising to repay the $400,000 loan, plus interest and penalties. And it left the Burkes responsible for the entire loan, according to the bank’s attorney, Jack Lydon.

The total owed now comes to $601,038, according to the lawsuit.

The Burkes couldn’t be reached for comment. Their lawyers, with the firm of Deutsch Levy & Engel, wouldn’t comment.

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