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CPS report highlights stolen funds, fake vendors, ‘ghost students’ - Chicago Sun-Times
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CPS report highlights stolen funds, fake vendors, ‘ghost students’

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RoberTirado

Roberto Tirado

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Updated: January 4, 2014 2:07AM



First Lake View High School technology coordinator Roberto Tirado stole more than $400,000 from the school.

Then he apparently ended up choking to death in a Mexican border town.

That’s the shocking revelation of a report published Friday by the Chicago Board of Education’s Inspector General James Sullivan.

Sullivan’s report didn’t identify the technology coordinator by name, but sources said the unnamed person is Tirado.

Tirado, an alumnus of the high school, created fake vendors with much of the money going into his own personal bank account, according to the report.

Since 2001, those nine vendors were issued $419,743 for items “purportedly purchased by the high school.”

Most of the fake vendors were “either classmates of the technology coordinator when he attended the high school or were students at the school” when Tirado worked there, the report states. Six of those vendors used the same P.O. Box address in Evanston.

Bank records show Tirado directed most of the vendor payments — $330,975 — to his own account, the report said.

Tirado also received $114,477 in reimbursement checks from the school’s own internal account to an American Express account in Tirado’s name “dressed up to look as if it were an official school account,” according to the report.

The inspector general found two clerks helped Tirado “facilitate” his scam. Both retired.

During the course of the 2011 investigation, the technology coordinator withdrew $70,000 from a personal bank account, refused to speak with the inspector general’s office, resigned from CPS, fled to California and was found dead in Tijuana, Mexico, according to the report.

Tirado told his wife he was going to California for a short time, while there he told her he was going to Tijuana, a source said. She then reported him missing, a source said.

Consulate officials in Tijuana said the man’s airways were obstructed and he choked, Sullivan said. Tirado presumably died Jan. 2012.

The scam was discovered when a new principal was hired at the school, which triggered an automatic audit, Sullivan said.

A teacher at Lake View remembered Tirado as a nice coworker who doled out Starbucks gift cards as a token of appreciation to the teachers.

The scam and the circumstances of his demise, the teacher said, are “unbelievable.”

In Tirado’s case, one of many highlighted in the 43-page report, the inspector general’s office worked with federal investigators. No criminal charges have been filed.

In a separate case, two CPS employees — including a high school principal — enrolled “ghost students” in an attempt to qualify for more staff. A source said that school was Hirsch Metropolitan High School.

In another case highlighted in the report, CPS employees allowed a vendor to provide “inferior, substitute products and charge the same price as the item the vendor” was supposed to provide, costing CPS nearly $100,000 in unnecessary charges.

CPS officials wouldn’t comment on specific cases, but a spokesman said in a statement: “CPS takes seriously any abuse of school resources and has created rigorous safeguards in its procurement process. If any misconduct is suspected, the district does not hesitate to debar vendors, discipline personnel, and bring matters to the attention of law enforcement.”

There was also an instance in which a typo cost CPS $1 million.

A teacher was supposed to be reimbursed $1,253 but was issued a check for $1.253 million.

“The teacher alerted the school and her bank of the error when she checked her balance a few days later and discovered that over $1 million had been posted to her account,” Sullivan wrote in his report.

Contributing: Frank Main

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32 Comments

Richard2 hours ago
Mexico is so rotten and corrupt with $300 thousand in cash he could have bought a corpse or had someone killed to produce one! Should we assume that this death was verified by fingerprints? If not, this guy is living like a king on our dough!
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xian barrett3 hours ago
As a CPS teacher, I couldn't buy anything without paying inflated vendor prices through their favored vendors or Donors Choose.

#graft #corruption #mayoralcontrol
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Shawiesha Banks5 hours ago
Chicago, a Sanctuary City
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who dat8 hours ago
How much did Rangel steal. And if you think you're being ripped off now wait until the charters get rolling.

Rahm is a master at manipulating the media.
+3

Deborah Gray8 hours ago
wow, I tried to be a vendor with them and they gave me a hard time, now I see they would rather work with imaginary vendors lol
+2

K.r. Qunynghamm10 hours ago
This isn't much of a shock, and it's not really unique. If other education officials, members, parents, other students, teachers or financial people really cared (or actually did their jobs), then it might be be surprising. Being how everybody hides behind somebody else or 'no comment while it's under investigation', or the person mainly involved (who's now dead), no one is ever held accountable, or is made to return at least some of the funds. Way too much taxpayer money is outright stolen or 'mismanaged' (again, stolen), it's ridiculous. If the taxes collected, were put to the proper use, with effective checks and balances, there would be a verifiable monetary surplus in just about every city, town or state in this country, including places like Detroit, where the tax base is being eroded by government pensions. Then we wouldn't see China buying all the property there, but that's getting way off the subject.
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Arlene Jones12 hours ago
Who was this person? Is there an estate where we can recoup our monies? IThe CPS budget is bigger than the entire city's budget. Where are the check and balances that should be in place, Like the Head of the school board can sign off on over a million but not on $10. And don't blame as someone else did in this stream of posts on Karen Lewis. My gut tells me it was one of Rahm's folks he brought in. And why Mexico??????? Found dead???? Drug deal gone bad too???? ASK QUESTIONS and DEMAND ANSWERS IN 2014. Don't accept the okey doke!
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1 reply
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Cheryl Taylor10 hours ago
FYI, tech coordinators work for and are hired by the Principal of the school. They don't work for the board.
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John12 hours ago
this should not be a SURPRISE, business as usual and standard no accountability for our tax money
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Bridgette Marie12 hours ago
and this is what karen lewis is blaming on the "white people who pay the taxes"?

all i know is that no one cares about these children. not their parents. teachers, the government. no one truly does and most of those in the teaching system would sell out these kids for an extra 1000 a year.

what a sick society this is.
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3 replies
+4

Cheryl Bailey11 hours ago
I wish you would explain what Karen Lewis has to do with this. The people at CPS who are stealing and lying, according to this report, are CPS management. Karen Lewis represents the teachers union. Teachers do not sign contracts or agreements with vendors nor do they have use of CPS issued credit cards. You are proof that our society is sick, ignorant and uninformed.
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2 replies
+6

Mandrake Park10 hours ago
don't forget racist to the core!
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1 reply
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Truth Hurts56 minutes ago
Who Karen Lewis? Yes she is. How dare the walrus blame rich white people.
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B baran13 hours ago
Fitzgerald the past prosecuting attorney was like Elliot Ness
He was not one of the good old boys.
His replacement is not going to put any politicians behind bars like Fitzgerald did
He has been instructed to help with gang crime
You know the old look this way so you do not see what is going on.
When Fitzgerald retired you could hear the good old boys popping champaign corks in celebration.
+1

John Korbin14 hours ago
And why are names not given. Names are published for parents who cant afford the student fees at public schools (which is illegal yet the ACLU wont do anything about) yet someone who has been stealing 400K and principals stealing...no names. Lets keep protecting those that are friends with the administration
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M B14 hours ago
You can mess with the NSA but not the CPS.

Who knew?
+1

Nunya Business15 hours ago
found dead in mexico... Ah, i love happy endings.
+5

Norman Massel15 hours ago
plus ça change,plus c'est la meme chose
+1

Cappy Ahab17 hours ago
It was Arne Duncan he was simply resurrected in a Democratic campaign of lies fraud and collusion.

Oh my bad.......... that was Obamacare
+3

who who17 hours ago
i would be interested in the name of the person and their race.....

otherwise this story is just hearsay.

the CPS is just a black hole for the taxpayers.

no accountability, principals that owe the city over 80k in fines, its unbelievable.

why doesn't rahm crack the whip on BBB??? somebody get her out of her suburban house and let her see whats going on in Chicago.
+3

B baran17 hours ago
Gee ya mean there was corruption in a Chicago run program what a surprise!
+3

Amber Mirabeau18 hours ago
is there any oversight anywhere in Chicago or Illinois?

Stolen goods. Pols stealing campaign cash.

What a pathetic excuse for a Govt.
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7 replies
+8

B baran17 hours ago
It's more than pathetic it negates Democracy
In this state corruption and machine politics replaced our Democratic government starting with prohibition, that is how long this stuff has been going on it is just today it is all very sophisticated and it is all as Al Capone would say Legit.
+2

Jim Jensen16 hours ago
The real question is why voters keep electing the crooks.
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5 replies
+2

Amber Mirabeau15 hours ago
Because their Union tells them to.
+5

VOR15 hours ago
Because the crooks promise benefits.
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3 replies
+4

B baran13 hours ago
Machine politics patronage rigged district maps.
Your vote is mealiness the crooks control the process
No democracy in this town.
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2 replies
+1

Richard Epping7 hours ago
Yep, just like the Republicans gerrymandered the state of Texas! Or South Carolina. Or Georgia...
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Amber Mirabeau7 hours ago
D ick ie

Nothing is more rigged than Illinois
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MIchael Bayne18 hours ago
Blatant disregard for the laws and stealing from the children, thy name is CPS.
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2 replies
+6

B baran17 hours ago
If corruption and the bureaucracy could be eliminated from CPS property taxes could be cut in half.
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1 reply
+3

MIchael Bayne17 hours ago
agreed and many other services would have the money it needed to operate at full strength, like the police department.
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