Burge's pension intact until November

Pension board says it can't consider stopping monthly payments until then

By: Becky Schlikerman, Tribune reporter
Chicago Tribune
Thursday, July 29, 2010

Former Chicago police Cmdr. Jon Burge will continue to collect his pension until at least November, despite being found guilty of perjury last month for lying about alleged torture in a civil lawsuit, officials with the police pension board said Thursday.

The board's regular monthly meeting drew more than a dozen people, including victims of alleged police abuse who are not happy that Burge is still drawing $3,768 a month for his years on the force.

"It's a black eye to the taxpayers," said Mark Clements, an alleged victim of Burge's officers who was released from prison in 2009 after 28 years behind bars.

David Kugler, an attorney for the board, said nothing can be done about Burge's pension until he is sentenced on Nov. 5.

Once Burge is sentenced, his pension payments will immediately stop until the pension board holds a hearing to decide if his conviction was directly related to his job as a police officer, Kugler said. That meeting will likely convene shortly after Burge's sentencing.

Under state law, police officers who are convicted of a felony related to their job are not eligible to collect their pensions.

Those in the audience at the meeting rustled when they heard Burge would continue to collect the cash.

"A lot of you feel Mr. Burge should be suspended immediately, but that would be denying him his due process," Kugler told the audience.

Burge has the option of withdrawing from the pension fund and receiving about $75,000, representing his contributions to the fund, said John J. Gallagher Jr., executive director of the police pension fund.

Burge was fired from the Police Department in February 1993 and began collecting his pension about four years later, when he turned 50.