Jon Burge's pension being challenged in court

February 7, 2011

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(AP/File)

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed a lawsuit to stop former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge from collecting his pension. Madigan's lawsuit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, alleges Burge does not qualify to collect his $3,000 monthly pension. That's because he was recently found guilty of lying about torturing suspects in police custody.

Madigan's office said there is a clause in the Illinois pension code saying any officer convicted of a felony related to their job cannot collect a pension.

"The attorney general strongly feels that the public should never have to pay for the retirement of a corrupt public official," said Natalie Bauer, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Attorney General's office.

The lawsuit comes after a recent ruling from the Chicago police pension board, which voted to allow Burge to receive his pension even while serving time. A federal judge sentenced Burge to four and a half years behind bars.

Meantime, Burge's attorney, Thomas Pleines, said the police pension board was right to say Burge deserves to keep his retirement payments.

"This action by the attorney general's office is nothing more than a political attempt to do an end run around the board and try to get a judge to issue an injunction against the board paying Burge his pension," Pleines said.

Pleines said he expects the legal battle over Burge's pension to take years.