Consultant gets 7-year prison sentence in Chicago Public Schools bribery scandal

Gary Solomon provided kickbacks to the Chicago Public Schools CEO in return for consulting contracts for his principal-training firm.

Gary Solomon, whom prosecutors called the "mastermind" behind the contract-rigging scheme involving Chicago Public Schools and former CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett, has been sentenced to serve seven years in prison.

WLS-TV reports that Solomon received the sentence after pleading guilty last year to wire fraud.

Prosecutors say that as the co-owner of SUPES Academy, Solomon and his business partner, Thomas Vranas, arranged to pay Byrd-Bennett as much as $2.3 million in kickbacks and perks in exchange for help securing more than $23 million in no-bid contracts for SUPES.

Byrd resigned from the district in 2015 and subsequently pleaded guilty to corruption charges. She is scheduled to be sentenced next month, as is Vranas.

Prosecutors asked U.S. District Court Judge Edmond Chang to impose a 9-year sentence on Solomon; defense attorneys sought a sentence of 18 months or less.

In court, Chang disputed the prosecutors' characterization of Solomon as the mastermind behind the scheme. Instead, he described Solomon as a savvy businessperson who saw an opportunity. Solomon wanted a maximum of 18 months.

Video from WLS-TV:

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