Forrest Claypool has resigned as chief executive officer of the Chicago Public Schools, three days after school district’s top internal investigator called for his firing for misconduct.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Claypool will be replaced by Janice Jackson, 40, who is school system’s chief education officer.
The resignation of Claypool — who previously was Mayor Rahm Emanuel's chief of staff and president of the Chicago Transit Authority and before that ran the Chicago Park District and was a Cook County Board member — came three days after the district's Inspector General Nicholas Schuler called for his firing for his conduct during an internal investigation of the district's top lawyer, Ronald Marmer.
In a 103-page report to the school board made public Thursday, Schuler says Claypool “repeatedly lied” to investigators and engaged in a “full-blown cover-up” during an investigation of Marmer for overseeing work for the district done by his former law firm, which was still paying him severance.
The district's ethics rules bar employees from supervising the work of any contractor they have a business relationship with.
“Claypool greatly compounded the severity of his misconduct when he repeatedly lied...through two separate interviews,” Schuler wrote.
Schuler found that Claypool and Marmer ignored legal opinions from six lawyers who said Marmer would be violating the ethics code by overseeing the work and instead “searched for an exonerating opinion.”
They finally got a favorable opinion from a seventh attorney. Relying on that “incorrect” opinion, Schuler said, was “manifestly deceptive and disingenuous.”
Claypool became CEO of Chicago Public Schools in 2015 in the wake of a bribery scandal that eventually sent the previous schools chief, Barbara Byrd-Bennett, to prison. At the time, Claypool was Emanuel's chief of staff.