Rahm-appointed former Chicago Schools CEO indicted on 23 counts of bribery and kickbacks
Public schools are a huge business, spending hundreds of billions of dollar annually, and although educrats and unions like to portray themselves as doing the Lord’s work, there is plenty of self-interest at work. Sometimes corruption. Particularly in notorious dens of corruption like Illinois and Chicago.
Education Week reports:
Former Chicago schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett has been indicted in connection with allegedly using her power to steer more than $23 million in no-bid contracts to her former employers.
The 23-count indictment from the U.S. Department of Justice alleges that Byrd-Bennett steered the contracts to The Supes Academy, and Synesi Associates, in exchange for an expectation of hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes, kickbacks, and other compensation.
According to the Chicago Tribune, she is expected to plead guilty:
At a news conference outlining the indictment Thursday afternoon, U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon revealed that Byrd-Bennett is cooperating with investigators and plans to plead guilty to the charges and testify if necessary.
Fardon referred to the motive in the case as flat-out "greed," calling Byrd-Bennett "a public official who compromised her integrity … by looking to line her own pockets." (snip)
[SUPES Academy CEO Gary] Solomon's attorney, Shelly Kulwin, also said his client did not anticipate going to trial, a signal that he likely will plead guilty as well. Kulwin said Solomon had cooperated fully with federal authorities since the beginning of the investigation, including turning over emails and other documents before they were subpoenaed.
There may be trouble ahead for Rahm with Solomon cooperating with the feds:
While Byrd-Bennett became the public face of the scandal, the Tribune has reported previously that Solomon's ties to the Emanuel administration go back to the beginning of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's tenure in office, predating the arrival of Byrd-Bennett. In fact, Solomon helped recruit Emanuel's first schools CEO, Jean-Claude Brizard, at the request of the mayor-elect's transition team in February 2011. (snip)
Emanuel communications director Kelley Quinn, who was a spokeswoman at the public schools when the SUPES contract was awarded, said no one in the mayor's office has been subpoenaed in the investigation. But she declined to answer questions about if federal investigators had contacted anyone in the mayor's office or if the office had turned over any documents to them.
President Obama’s hometown and carefully selected political base certainly has problems. Funny how he never mentions them.
Hat tip: Peter von Buol