Friday, April 28, 2017

Deep Corruption: Ex-Chicago schools chief sentenced to 4 ½ years in prison

Evergreen Academy,
Southwest Side
You've heard about "Deep State," the nameless yet intractable part of the federal government that seeks to undermine political hires, such as members of the president's cabinet, who work to undermine their bosses and the president, particularly when a Republican resides in the White House.

In Chicago there is Deep Corruption. For instance, Gary Solomon, the former co-owner of SUPES Academy and Synesis Associates LLC, engineered the hiring of Barbara Byrd-Bennett, commonly known as B3, as the CEO of Chicago Public Schools.

We still don't know how Solomon--who has already pleaded guilty for his role in the CPS bribery scam outlined below--pulled that off.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:
A federal judge on Friday sent the mayor's second schools chief to prison with a diatribe against a steady stream of public corruption he said threatens Chicago's very well-being.

"It's distressing that Chicago has not — nor seems to be able to — shed its image of public corruption," Judge Edmond Chang said before he sentenced disgraced Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett to 4 ½ years in prison. "People in Chicago and all of Illinois want to see if Chicago can ever be a city that works for its people and not for public officials and those that pay bribes. … The fact that the crime was committed during CPS' budget crisis did make it all the worse."

Byrd-Bennett steered $23 million in no-bid contracts to the consultants who'd previously employed her; in return, she expected hundreds of thousand of dollars in kickbacks — though she never saw any of it.
"I've got this thing, it's f*cking golden."

The largest of the three no-bid deals was a jaw-dropping $20.5 million principal training contract. It was finalized a month after Byrd-Bennett controversially shuttered 50 neighborhood schools in 2013.
Also sentenced in the scheme was another co-owner of SUPES and Synesi Associates LLC, Thomas Vranas. He will serve 18 months.

B3 is a former chief academic and accountability auditor for Detroit Public Schools. And DPS hired--wait for it--Synesi as a contractor. Byrd-Bennett's time in Detroit is reportedly under investigation.

That's the way Deep Corruption works. Crooks weave their way in-and-out of government--with a lucrative stay or two in the private sector--cashing in on their connections.

Taxpayers lose. And when schools are involved, children lose too.

B3's boast with an emoji about the graft in an email, "I have tuition to pay and casinos to visit (:", is now remembered as one of Chicago's storied corruption quotes, which includes Rod Blagojevich's line about selling a US Senate seat, "I've got this thing and it's fucking golden, and, uh, uh, I'm just not giving it up for fuckin' nothing."

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