Two in a row! Chicago Public Schools chief fired for corruption


Rahm Emanuel didn’t have to search very far for the replacement Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett when she was fired in 2015.  After the wheels of justice turned all the way,  she sobbed in court last April upon being sentenced to four-a-half years in prison “for scheming to collect hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks in return for steering lucrative contracts.”

Rahm’s choice for the job was his old friend and longtime aide, Forrest Claypool. After all, “it’s the Chicago way” to keep political appointments that hand out lucrative contracts among friends.

But then again, it’s also The Chicago Way to see corrupt officials forced out of their jobs --sometimes sequentially. And that is what just happened, as Mr. Claypool put on his own public display of sorrow with sad faces all around:

…with Claypool resigning his $250,000-a-year job, acknowledging “stupid mistakes” that unsparingly were laid bare by an ethics investigation of his good friend, top CPS lawyer Ron Marmer.

Who knew that is was against the rules to steer contracts to companies in which you have a financial stake? Apparently not the CEO of the Chicago Public Schools?

Under the school system’s ethics code, officials can’t supervise the work of any CPS contractor with whom they have a “business relationship.” And Marmer was getting a $1 million severance package from Jenner & Block, in five $200,000 yearly installments through 2018.

He hired his former law firm for major litigation, even as he was receiving money from them.

My prediction is that Chicago will run out of money before it runs out of corrupt politicians. I’d say that’s a safe bet.