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Former Chicago Chief Pleads Guilty in Corruption Probe

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Former Chicago schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett pleaded guilty last week to a single count of wire fraud, stemming from a federal investigation that led to charges that she steered more than $23 million in contracts to a former employer in exchange for kickbacks and bribes.

Byrd-Bennett, 66, who resigned from the district in June, faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and fines. As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors are expected to seek a 7½-year sentence, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Federal prosecutors said she steered contracts for principal training to the SUPES Academy and Synesi Associates. In exchange, she was promised a consulting job at SUPES Academy after she retired from the Chicago district, along with a "signing bonus."

An investigation into separate possible contract improprieties has now been launched in Detroit, where she was chief academic officer from 2009 to 2011.

Vol. 35, Issue 09, Page 4

Published in Print: October 21, 2015, as Former Chicago Chief Pleads Guilty in Corruption Probe
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