Prosecutors Ask for 7.5 Years for Corrupt Former Chicago Schools Chief

FILE - In this Oct. 12, 2012 file photo, Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett speaks at a news conference in Chicago. The former CEO has been indicted on corruption charges following a federal investigation into a $20 million no-bid contract. Bennett was indicted Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, nearly four …
AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File
Chicago, IL

Federal prosecutors have recommended a seven and a half year jail sentence for former Chicago Public Schools chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett who pleaded guilty to corruption charges in 2015.

Prosecutors said that Byrd-Bennett was fully aware that the city’s school system was in a financial meltdown long before she became head of the schools; she worked a scam to receive kickbacks for steering up to $23 million in no-bid contracts to a consulting firm where she once worked, WGN TV reports.

Prosecutors criticized the former educrat for working to “enrich herself and her co-schemers at the expense” of the city, the taxpayers, and the students of Chicago.

While admitting to the “extraordinary breach of trust,” Byrd-Bennett’s defense team asked for only a three and a half year sentence.

Once hailed by city leaders as the woman who would reform the troubled Chicago Public School System, only a few years into her tenure Byrd-Bennett was indicted on 23 counts of corruption.

By October of 2015, the former schools chief pleaded guilty to the charges and now faces a sentencing hearing.

The trial was further complicated by former Obama chief of staff and current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel who refused to supply the court with documents detailing Byrd-Bennett’s relationship with the mayor’s office.

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