Two Business Partners, Chicago Schools’ Former CEO Sentenced to Federal Prison

Associate Editor

Former Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett and the former co-owner of an education consulting firm were sentenced Friday by a federal judge to prison terms in conjunction with a corruption scandal.

Byrd-Bennett was sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison, and Tom Vranas, co-owner of The SUPES Academy, received 18 months.

The former schools chief had worked for The SUPES Academy as a consultant before taking the helm of the Chicago system. She subsequently steered more than $20 million in contracts to the firm and Synesi Associates, in exchange for an expectation of hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes, kickbacks, and other compensation, according to federal prosecutors.

The longest sentence in the case was meted out last month to Gary Solomon, who pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in October 2016, according to media reports, and received 7 years for his role. Solomon, who co-owned The SUPES Academy, has appealed the sentence.

In 2015, Byrd-Bennett pleaded guilty to a single count of wire fraud, stemming from a federal investigation that led to the bribery charges.

My colleague Denisa Superville wrote more about the sentencing in a blog post.

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