Sunday, July 31, 2016

Updated Story

DAVID WILHELM'S HOPEWELL VENTURES UNDER INVESTIGATION BY THE US SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION 

According to Crain's writer, Lynne Marek (May 21, 2016) 
(click here for a link to the complete story)





"Democratic heavyweight David Wilhelm tapped Illinois pension funds and the federal government to raise a $105 million venture fund, but it has lost more than half its value even as he and his partners collected millions of dollars in fees.
The partners launched Chicago-based Hopewell Ventures in 2004 with backing from a Small Business Administration program that primed the pump for other investors. Today Hope-well owes the federal program $30 million and seems to offer its other investors, which include the biggest pension fund in Illinois, little prospect of a return on their investments."
Corruption Busters reported the plot by David Wilhelm and convicted felon Joe Cari to approach pension funds solely for the purpose of garnering management fees without regards as to safeguarding the investment monies.
The TRS responded to a substantial number of FOIA requests to reveal the extent of these reckless investments that totaled over $30 Million of teacher retirement funds and resulted in massive losses. We requested that TRS pull these investments from these shaky deals and they repeatedly refused. 
This is certainly a breach of fiduciary and we encourage teachers to initiate a lawsuit against the trustees of the TRS and management in order to compel Wilhelm and Cari to reimburse the funds for the management fees.
Updated Story

DAVID WILHELM'S HOPEWELL VENTURES UNDER INVESTIGATION BY THE US SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION 

According to Crane's writer, Lynne Marek (May 21, 2016) 


"Democratic heavyweight David Wilhelm tapped Illinois pension funds and the federal government to raise a $105 million venture fund, but it has lost more than half its value even as he and his partners collected millions of dollars in fees.
The partners launched Chicago-based Hopewell Ventures in 2004 with backing from a Small Business Administration program that primed the pump for other investors. Today Hope-well owes the federal program $30 million and seems to offer its other investors, which include the biggest pension fund in Illinois, little prospect of a return on their investments."
Corruption Busters reported the plot by David Wilhelm and convicted felon Joe Cari to approach pension funds solely for the purpose of garnering management fees without regarding as to safeguarding the investment monies.
The TRS responded to a substantial number of FOIA requests to reveal the extent of these reckless investments that totaled over $30 Million of teacher retirement funds and resulted in massive losses. We requested that TRS pull these investments from these shaky deals and they repeatedly refused. 
This is certainly a breach of fiduciary and we encourage teachers to initiate a lawsuit against the trustees of the TRS and management in order to compel Wilhelm and Cari to reimburse the funds for the management fees.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

CALL FOR RESTITUTION BY PERPETRATORS OF SOLE SOURCE CONTRACTS FOR PERSONAL GAIN AT TAXPAYER EXPENSE

Lightning strikes twice with Barbara Byrd-Bennett who recently pled guilty to wiring over $20 Million in sole source contracts at Chicago Public Schools.

Feds: Ex-CPS CEO 'fraudulently' steered $40M contract in Detroit

WRITTEN BY JON SEIDEL, DAN MIHALOPOULOS AND LAUREN FITZPATRICK  Chicago Sun Times 11/2/2015

"An FBI agent believed corrupt former Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett worked to “fraudulently steer” a $40 million contract to one of the country’s biggest educational publishers while she worked for the Detroit schools, according to records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times."  





Sunday, October 25, 2015

A GOOD START?

Corruption Busters was advised today that 20 WPS 60 Administrators took a morning tour of Waukegan on Oct. 23, 2015 accompanied by State Rep. Rita Mayfield stopping at 3 or 4 locations for a photo op and then returned to Lincoln Center for a white linen luncheon hosted by the District to recognize Bethel Cager and Amanda Patti for their new leadership at WPS60. 

On its face, this outing appears to be beneficial as it was crafted to introduce new administrators to Waukegan. We are usually cynical as to motives to spend taxpayer money and note that the combined annual salaries of these administrators tops $2 Million plus the cost of lunch at taxpayer expense.

We see a teachable moment here. There are 17,000 students in Waukegan who have little time within the confines of the common core curriculum to get real life experiences. Most may not have even gone one or two miles to see Lake Michigan, let alone visited museums or historical sites in the Chicagoland area.

Waukegan has an incredible and underutilized asset, namely the Waukegan Historical Society located at 1917 N. Sheridan Road within close proximity to all of Waukegan's schools. 

This organization offers a variety of free Outreach and Education Programs that fosters civic pride for residents and a wonderful sense of commuity in Lake County. 

Click here for a  link to their website and programs. 

More focus on experiential education and a de-emphasis on standardized tests (as now advocated by the Obama Administration) is suggested to the braintrust at Lincoln Center.
This would have made great table discussion during the luncheon and provided a positive result from the participation of these experienced educators.



Monday, October 19, 2015

BGA Public Eye: City Colleges adds administrators, boosts tuition

This was written by Sarah Karp of the Better Government Association skarp@bettergov.org published in Chicago Sun Times Oct. 17, 2015


The same predatory practices of padding administrative salaries found in Chicago Public Schools and Waukegan District 60 are now reported at Chicago City Colleges.

In addition, Corruption Busters has an extensive ongoing investigation into sole source outside legal fees that provide billings at $295 per hour to connected law firms in lieu of using in-house staff. 

Back in 2013 Jack Hagerty, of Shefsky (now Taft Law) issued an invoice for a blanket $40,000 approved just prior to the demotion of General Counsel James M. Reilly




FOIA requests failed to uncover the direct work associated with this payment. A complaint was made to the Chicago City Colleges Inspector General regarding lack of oversight and waste of taxpayer dollars. 

We have previously reported Hagerty's propensity to receive sole source legal work from a number of Chicago Sister Agencies, including a $4 Million fee for work associated with Chicago Public Schools.



The Better Government Association led by Andy Shaw recently posted a investigation entitled

$110 million! City’s Legal Bills Pile Up  

(Andrew Schroedter and Patrick Rehkamp/BGA October 17, 2015 6:00 PM)


"With Chicago deeply in debt and straining to pay its bills, Mayor Rahm Emanuel took office in 2011 vowing to slash spending. Among his primary targets: Annual multi-million dollar payouts to outside legal firms tagged to handle selected city business including defending police misconduct cases.
 
But Emanuel, now in his second term, has yet to fulfill that promise, according to a BGA Rescuing Illinois analysis of city records.
 
Since taking office, the Emanuel Administration has paid $110 million to outside counsel, roughly the same amount his predecessor Mayor Richard M. Daley spent on freestanding legal firms in his last term, according to a BGA Rescuing Illinois review."


Saturday, October 17, 2015

Rutter: Spend Waukegan school administration freebies on the kids

Chicago Tribune article  by David Rutter Oct. 16, 2015
Click here to view the story

Saturday, October 10, 2015

WPS60 Board President Rodriguez working towards safeguarding taxpayer assets

A Lake County News Sun article written by Lauren Zumbach (published October 9, 2015) entitled "District-owned vehicles for Waukegan school administrators an unusual perk" reports that Rodriguez seeks reconsideration of the perk. Current Superintendent Batiste drives a leased 2014 Corolla, while the district purchased the 2012 Highlander driven by Mary Lamping at a cost of $24,000 including warranty. 

Exercising a bit of prudent shopping at Classic Toyota on Green Bay, Lamping could have been furnished a 2016 Corolla LE with  a downpayment of $1,899 and a 24 month lease of $169 for a total cost of $4,056 saving the district $20,000 dollars that could be contributed to direct education and the benefit of Waukegan students.

Corruption Busters applauds President Rodriguez as he endeavors to negotiate a fair contract for the new superintendent after Batiste's tenure concludes at the end of the 2015-2016 school year.