The Chicago school district is suing former superintendent Barbara Byrd-Bennett and the owners at SUPES Academy and Synesi Associates for more than $65 million in damages in connection with the ex-superintendent’s role in steering about $23.5 million in contracts to companies owned by her former employers, the Chicago Tribune reported last week.
The lawsuit, filed in Cook County Court in Chicago accuses Byrd-Bennett, Gary Solomon, and Thomas Vranas, the co-owners of SUPES Academy and Synesi Associates, and the two companies of conspiring to defraud the school district of millions of dollars through a bribery and kickback scheme.
The lawsuit accuses the defendants of deceiving the school district, breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and fraudulently obtaining public funds, which should be returned.
Byrd-Bennett pleaded guilty last October to one count of wire fraud in connection with the bribery scheme. She is cooperating with federal authorities in their case against Vranas and Solomon, and faces up to 7.5 years in prison.
A version of this article appeared in the March 16, 2016 edition of Education Week as Chicago District Sues Former Chief Byrd-Bennett