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?
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.