Rahm didn’t know? Why not?


The brilliant reporter Sarah Karp broke the story on the crooked deal between Barbara Byrd-Bennett, Gary Solomon and Tom Vranas.

In a Chicago Magazine interview with Carol Felsenthal former CPS CEO Jean Claude Brizard is asked what he knew about Rahm’s hiring of Byrd Bennett.

Why did Rahm want her as CPS CEO?

I don’t believe that the mayor did enough vetting of Barbara. He may have had inadequate counsel but frankly many were fooled.

Rahm didn’t do enough vetting and many were fooled?

Sarah Karp wasn’t fooled.

The indictment follows an earlier investigation by former CPS Inspector General Jim Sullivan, which was spurred by an article that I wrote for Catalyst-Chicago in 2013.

That Catalyst story followed a $20.5 million no-bid CPS contract awarded to SUPES to offer professional development to district principals, an agreement that raised red flags.

After covering CPS for almost a decade, I knew it was unheard of for the district to award a no-bid contract of that magnitude, especially for something that other organizations are able to handle. It was suspicious for SUPES, a small company not well known to education experts in the city to be awarded such a large contract.

I discovered Byrd-Bennett had worked for the company as a consultant. What’s more, there was evidence that she was still working for another Solomon and Vranas company after she took a position with CPS.

In an interview with me in December of 2013, Byrd-Bennett denied to me that there was any overlap.

If Rahm and so many were fooled – a big if – why is that?

Rahm says he doesn’t look at contracts. He says he didn’t meet any of those involved.

Why is that?

I think they call this creating plausible deniability.

Protect the boss at all costs.

11 thoughts on “Rahm didn’t know? Why not?

  1. Note to Ben & Sarah: Rahm wasn’t fooled, naive, or sandy-headed. He was complicit. Emails will show. Just too big to jail while HC running for prez.

  2. Knowing a no bid went to “old friends” is one thing, knowing about a kick back scheme is quite another. Although he could have been surprised by how blatantly stupid they were . Certainly not well practiced at the kick back game.

  3. You can’t have it both ways – CPS is either under mayoral control, or it isn’t.
    It’s no secret that the mayor is a control freak and has complete control over CPS – the schools, the school closings, the CPS CEO, the principals, the teachers, his rubber-stamp school board, the janitorial contracts, the food contracts, the school closing contracts. Even communications emanating from CPS, including anything coming out of the mouths of principals and teachers are censored and controlled.
    The mayor rules CPS just like he rules city council – with the iron fist of a dictator.

    EVERYTHING is just the way he wants it – under his thumb – and now he’s going for the ostrich defense? Really?

  4. Let’s pretend for a brief moment that Emmanuel is being honest when he says he knew nothing about it. (I know, I know!! Now stop laughing!!!!!) At the very LEAST it means he is too incompetent to be mayor and should be impeached, recalled, booted, or what ever the worst thing they can do to him is!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Maybe I am wrong about this because I was teaching during the George Ryan trial and had little time to follow it. I is my understanding they he went to jail because of the corruption in his administration.
    Why is Rahm not responsible?

  6. Hi Fred,

    Hope your enjoying your well deserved retirement! Thanks for posting the truth about the Fraud, Waste and Abuse that continues at ALL levels here in Chicago! Just an FYI, I’m the Campaign Manager/long time friend of Oscar Ortiz. Also I served as a Cook County Commissioner for over 5 years and lost my re-election because I cut ties with the Representative Luis Arroyo! I Retired in 2013 from the Illinois State Police and now breaking into the Opposition Research field against Maldonado and Arroyo in the upcoming elections! Also my wife has been teaching for 23 years at CPS….very proud of her!

    Ed Reyes


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