Thursday, October 08, 2015
Former Chicago Schools CEO And SUPES Academy Executives Charged In Bribery Scheme
The controversial former CEO of the Chicago Public Schools named by Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been indicted by federal prosecutors in Chicago for steering a $22.5 million, no-bid contract to her former employer, SUPES Academy, in return for a job promise to herself and cash payments of $250,000 for two of her relatives. Barbara Byrd-Bennett has been indicted in the bribery scheme, along with the two co-owners of SUPES Academy, Gary Solomon and Thomas Vranas.
According to the 43-page indictment, Solomon assured Byrd-Bennett there was a job waiting for her at his company when she completed "this stint at CPS." Solomon and Vranas agreed to deposit $250,000 into bank accounts of Byrd-Bennett's relatives as "a signing bonus," which the two then deposited to the relatives' accounts. Solomon also promised to arrange jobs for Byrd-Bennett's relatives and gave her free meals, airline tickets and tickets to sporting events.
"Graft and corruption in our city's public school system tears at the fabric of a vital resource for the children of Chicago," U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon said in a statement. "School officials and city vendors who abuse the public trust will be held accountable." It's too bad our federal prosecutor in Indianapolis doesn't feel the same way. This kind of corruption Byrd-Bennett is accused of engaging in with these shady characters is standard operating procedure in government here. SUPES Academy, by the way, has contracted with Indiana schools in the past.
The federal prosecutor, Zachary Fardon, announced Byrd-Bennett has agreed to plead guilty to the charges. Solomon is married to the daughter of a prominent Chicago real estate developer, John Marks, who developed both the House of Blues and Hard Rock hotels. Solomon formerly taught school at Niles Township School District before he was forced to resign over allegations of having inappropriate sexual relationships with his students. Vranas is the son of the former head of the Chicago Association of Realtors, John Vranas.