Former Cleveland City Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett Indicted for Receiving $250,000 in Bribes

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Byrd-Bennett - WALTER NOVAK
  • Walter Novak
  • Byrd-Bennett
Anyone who can remember Barbara Byrd-Bennett's tenure at the head of CMSD will remember an era of fudged numbers, scandals, and the brand of general incompetence so valued in a $300,000+ salaried employee during that time. Of course, other cities like incompetence too, and so after she resigned from CMSD following a levy failure in 2006, she immediately scooped up a gig in Detroit's public school system before high tailing it to Chicago where she'd eventually be crowned by Rahm Emanuel as chief of the schools there in October 2012.

Today, Byrd-Bennett was indicted for taking bribes to steer a no-bid contract to SUPES, a company she used to work for. Specifically, she faces 15 counts of wire fraud and five counts of wire fraud.

She'd already resigned from CPS back in May after allegations of wrongdoing first came to light. But now it's official and the details are gnarly for Bennett, who has a listed address in Solon.

From the Chicago Tribune:

The indictment charged that Byrd-Bennett was promised a job at SUPES once she stepped down as the public schools CEO, according to the indictment

"When this stint at CPS is done and you are ready to … retire, we have your spot waiting for you," Solomon wrote in an email in April 2012, according to the indictment. "Hopefully with even more work and more (opportunity)."

The indictment also alleged that Solomon and Vranas offered to deposit money in financial accounts for two undisclosed relatives of Byrd-Bennett's in what they called a "signing bonus" for her help on obtaining the contract.

In an email to Solomon in December 2012, Byrd-Bennett asked that the amount of money deposited in each account be equal.

"I would like the flexibility to use funds for whatever reason as needed for them," the indictment quoted her as writing.

Solomon and Vranas then deposited $127,000 in each account, which was 10 percent of the gross proceeds of the original contract, the indictment alleged.

There were also tickets to shows and expected reimbursements for parties and all the other glorious add-ons any good corrupt public official would ask for. 

Solomon and Vranas were also indicted.

Byrd-Bennett plans to plead guilty.


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