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No Games Chicago Update
57 Days To Decision
Daily News

August 5, 2009
The People Speak

We do not want the 2016 Olympics in Chicago or the Chicago area. This is a corrupt city led by a corrupt mayor who is getting all of us in financial difficulties. We cannot handle our own financial or parking or murder problems now. The Olymplics here will be a disaster for everybody.

Seymour Lazar
Buffalo Grove

Signer of No Games
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Open letter to the IOC:
"Why you don't want to give the Olympics to Chicago"

Dear Member of the International Olympic Committee:  

One of the mail points in our case against Chicago hosting the 2016 Olympics is that the city is terribly corrupt. Decisions about city policies and city projects are made not to ensure the highest quality but to ensure the highest profits and favors for the Mayor's friends and colleagues.

It seems that everything in this city is for sale or subject to influence peddling. Now we learn that our public schools are being investigated by federal law enforcement officials for corruption.

This is a new scandal and is making news daily here. Michael Scott, the President of the Chicago Board of Education has been subpoenaed to appear before a federal grant jury. Mr. Scott is the chairman of the outreach committee for Chicago 2016.

Michael Scott

August 5, 2009
BY FRAN SPELMAN City Hall Reporter

Chicago Board of Education President Michael Scott disclosed Tuesday that he has been subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury investigating how students are chosen for admission to some of the city's most elite public schools.

Scott said he was surprised by the subpoena and flatly denied that he has ever flexed his political muscle -- during two stints as board president -- to clout any student into a "selective enrollment" school.

"I followed all the procedures," Scott said.
Asked whether he has ever made a call on behalf of someone else, Scott said, "Nope. Never."
Scott said the Board of Education launched its internal investigation of the admissions process before the federal grand jury issued separate subpoenas for school records and Scott's testimony.

Asked whether he had ever heard of a call being placed to get a student clouted in, he said, "That's a different question. You asked me if I made a call. No comment. It's an ongoing investigation."

Pressed on why the federal government would target him for grand jury testimony, Scott said, "I don't know. I keep telling you. I have no idea. But, I look forward to it. I can tell you that. "I'm telling you there's a process in place that I have absolute confidence in and I look forward to answering any questions about it. . . . People should have confidence in the system," he said.

Scott made his comments after joining Mayor Daley at Robeson High School, 6935 S. Normal, to launch the annual back-to-school campaign.

The Chicago Sun-Times began reporting on problems in admissions to elite CPS schools 18 months ago, disclosing that parents tried to clout their kids into one lottery magnet school, some with the help of a school clerk. The parents falsely claimed they had a child already enrolled in the elementary school.

And in February, the Sun-Times reported that the first year of allowing the principals of CPS' selective-enrollment college prep schools to handpick five percent of their students was a rocky one.

During the news conference, Schools CEO Ron Huberman refused to be pinned down on the timeline of the internal and federal investigations. He would only say that the internal inquiry dates back "several months."

"CPS detected an anomaly as part of the normal course of business at a particular school. . . . We then decided to launch an investigation. . . . We also wanted to bring in an independent auditing firm [to review] the process," Huberman said.

Daley said the investigation demonstrates the need for more magnet schools across the city.
"More and more people want to stay in Chicago. More and more people want to get into better schools," the mayor said.

One key target of the Board of Education's internal probe is the sweeping power that allows principals to hand-pick five percent of all students at nine college prep high schools that admit students based on tests and grades and at the dozens of magnet schools that admit by lottery.

The Sun-Times reported in the February that 16 percent of the 129 students chosen by principals at seven of the prep schools did not pass initial law department scrutiny. Some principals picked kids who did not take the required admissions test or had not even filled out an application.

The federal and CPS investigations come against the backdrop of the clout admissions scandal at the University of Illinois.

Scott served as school board president from 2001 to 2006, only to return in February after his longtime friend Rufus Williams was forced out by City Hall.
Scott is a trusted Daley lieutenant with a 30-year history with the mayor. He has served as cable administrator, a park board president, RTA and McPier board member and chairman of the outreach committee for Chicago 2016.