Businessman who bribed Chicago Public Schools CEO pleads guilty

Businessman who bribed Chicago Public Schools CEO pleads guilty

Gary Solomon paid bribes to the school district's CEO to steer district business to his principal-training firm.

The so-called mastermind of a Chicago Public Schools contract-rigging scheme that funneled bribes to the district's CEO has pleaded guilty to fraud.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Gary Solomon, 48, admitted guilt to one count of wire fraud.

Former Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett

Prosecutors say Solomon, along with Barbara Byrd=Bennett, who was CEO of Chicago Public Schools, was part of the plot to steer $23 million in no-bid deals from the district to the SUPES Academy, which provided training for school principals.

Solomon faces a maximum of 20 years in prison when he is sentenced March 24. He also must pay $254,000 in restitution.

Byrd-Bennett pleaded guilty a year ago. She has not been formally sentenced, but had agreed to a reduced sentence of about seven years in exchange for her cooperation in the case. Byrd-Bennett left the top job in the district in April 2015 as the federal investigation was gathering evidence.

Thomas Vranas, 35, Solomon’s business partner, pleaded guilty in April to a charge of conspiracy to commit bribery. He also awaits sentencing.

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