The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Daley Withholding Judgement on Schools Credit Card Scandal

By Kevin Robinson in News on Jan 26, 2010 5:00PM

Photo by trippchicago.
In the wake of a Tribune investigation into the apparent misuse of city-issued credit cards by high-ranking officials in the Chicago Public Schools, Mayor Daley says that he wants to wait to see what the report that Schools Inspector General James Sullivan will issue says. "The report has not come out as yet, but we'll be sitting down with that," Daley told the Tribune. "The independent inspector general is supposed to issue a report as well, and we'll respond appropriately. Like anything else, you want to protect taxpayers' money at all times."

According to the Tribune investigation, credit cards issued by the Chicago Board of Education were used to dine at well-known Chicago restaurants, buy artwork at private galleries, and even make contributions to the 2016 Olympic Bid Committee. The Chicago Teachers Union has criticized Mayor Daley's last two school board chiefs, Rufus Williams and Michael Scott. "The leadership at the board needs to set the tone for the rest of the employees by being frugal in their spending," Rosemaria Genova, a spokeswoman for the union said. "When you have the board president spending (money) on art, Huberman driving around two cars and Michael Scott spending money on lavish dinners, you really have to wonder what these folks are thinking."

Steve Rhodes at the Beachwood Reporter summed it all up well. Noting that Williams and Scott used the credit cards in addition to generous publicly funded spending allowances, $19,200 for Williams and $36,000 for Scott, Rhodes pointed out that "many teachers are buying school supplies out of their own pockets to make up for shocking shortages. [snip] As for the meals, well, maybe we should decree that top officials at CPS ride a school bus to work, eat school lunches, and learn to live with the office supply equivalent of schoolroom supplies. Intolerable? Even more so to kids."