Corruption is Chicago's First Name!
The fact that the chief of this country's third largest public school system is under indictment for corruption is interesting.
The funny thing is it was all so obvious - CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett awarding a no-bid contract worth $20 million to her friends was okayed by the Chicago Board of Education.
But corruption is exactly how the whole system works. And hired mouthpieces like Mayor Rahm Emanuel who represent the 1% interests are supposed to keep these things somewhat under control.
But corruption is everywhere.
Why just the other week a parent asked me about computers his children used last year in an online after school program our school used.
The company is called Babbage and they distributed small computers to students to complete reading programs. Once they finished the program the company promised to unlock the computer so the students could use it regularly.
So I looked up the company contact information online.
Then I found this glaring headline: "Father, Son Executives of Niles-Based Companies Indicted."
Yesiree! Even our humble after school programs are corrupt.
In this case, this company Babbage which had a contract in many Chicago Public Schools last year, defrauded CPS and many other school districts by "falsely reporting pre-testing and post-tutoring results to school districts, taking federal funds and fraudulently billing school districts."
Some student progress reports were even falsified, the Journal Online reported.
Sound familiar? Atlanta anyone where cheating takes front and center stage as everyone's livelihood boils down to a test score.
CPS said they have participated in the investigation, but no more details.
Father, Son Executives Of Niles-Based Companies Indicted
Wheeling, Morton Grove Men Accused Of Defrauding 200 School Districts In 19 States Of $33 Million
Posted: Monday, April 28, 2014 1:39 pm | Updated: 1:56 pm, Mon Apr 28, 2014.
Indicted were Jowhar Solutanali of Morton Grove and his son Kabir Kassam of Wheeling who ran Brilliance Academy Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Babbage Net School Inc., both based in Niles.
Federal prosecutors said the men, through their companies, defrauded 200 public school districts in 19 states, including Illinois, out of more than $33 million related to mandated tutoring services for students under the federal No Child Left Behind act between 2008 and 2012.
Kassam was president of both companies and Solutanali was director of operations for both. They were tasked with providing tutoring services using computer-based programs because schools failed to make adequate yearly progress on state exams under federal No Child Left Behind laws.
Federal prosecutors say the two men bribed three school officials in Texas and one state education official in New Mexico and falsely reported pre-testing and post-tutoring results to school districts, taking federal funds and fraudulently billing school districts.
Computer-based tutoring programs were supposed to be custom made but in many cases were generic, not customized to student needs and configured at or below student grade levels, prosecutors allege. Some student progress reports were also allegedly falsified.
The school officials in Texas and New Mexico who were alleged to have taken bribes also face federal charges.
Bribes included meals, a Caribbean cruise vacation and services at a gentleman’s club.
Each count of bribery includes possible prison terms of up to 10 years and fines of up to $250,000. Each count of mail fraud includes possible prison terms of up to 20 years and a $250,000 fine, or a fine equaling twice the gain or loss, that would be $66 million.
Additionally, the companies, Brilliance and Babbage, each face a $250,000 fine on each count and as companies, face five years probation in which terms and conditions would be set and the companies would need to abide by under court supervision.
States where school districts were allegedly defrauded include Illinois, Indiana, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Virginia.
Randal Sanborn, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney of Northern Illinois, said which Illinois schools were allegedly defrauded was not part of the public record. A press release said Chicago Public Schools participated in the investigation.