Chicago watchdog reveals tainted alternative school bids

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CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago Public Schools inspector general says there continues to be fallout from Barbara Byrd Bennett's tenure as the school district's CEO.

Inspector General Nicholas Schuler's office reports the for-profit Camelot Education, which educates at-risk students, won contracts worth $67 million with help from Byrd-Bennett and two former associates.

Schuler's report said Texas-based Camelot opened its schools through Gary Solomon's and Thomas Vranas's coordination with Byrd-Bennett and manipulation of CPS's procurement process.

Camelot CEO Andrew Morrison disputed Schuler's conclusions, saying the company "competed for and won the Board of Education's contract fairly and on our merits."

Schuler's office asked the Chicago Board of Education to disqualify Camelot and two unnamed company executives from future business with CPS.

Byrd-Bennett, Vranas and Solomon are serving federal prison terms for steering multimillion-dollar no-bid contracts to the SUPES Academy education consulting firm in exchange for the promise of lucrative kickbacks.

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