MEDIA WATCH: Sun-Times January 31 update leaves out Daley, Duncan, Holder snub of Michael Scott five weeks before Scott death

Despite some good reporting in a January 31, 2010, article on the fact that Michael Scott was in contact with Mayor Daley's top advisor just hours before his November 15, 2009 death, what's been left out of much of the coverage of the story is how even before the phone call Scott had with Jacqueline Heard, Daley's press secretary, Daley was pushing Scott aside for reasons which the mayor has yet to be asked, let alone made to explain.

In one of the most dramatic examples of the growing gap between Chicago's Mayor Richard M. Daley (above right, speaking) and Michael Scott, who served Daley for 30 years most famously as President of the Chicago Board of Education, came on October 7, 2009, during a nationally covered City Hall press conference. Daley excluded Scott from the event, which featured U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (above left) and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder (behind Daley, eyes showing) announcing a $60 million federal program (now called "Creating a Culture of Calm") to reduce what Chicago calls "Youth Violence." The exclusion of Scott from major events such as the press conference was viewed by many of Scott's closest associates as one example of how Scott was being distanced from Daley following the debacle of Chicago's failure to land the 2016 Olympics. The leaking of small bits of supposed corruption on Scott's part to the Chicago Sun-Times was also viewed by some as part of the disposal of Scott. According to the most recent Sun-Times reports, based on Police records, Scott had a lengthy phone call with Mayoral Press Secretary Jacqueline Heard (above right in photo) 16 hours before his death. Scott's body was found on the banks of the Chicago River west of the Merchandise Mart early in the morning of November 16, 2009. Although Daley was reportedly at the scene early, press reports have still not confirmed that. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt."Sixteen hours before he was found dead, city School Board President Michael W. Scott got a Sunday-morning call from a top aide to Mayor Daley to schedule a meeting about questionable expenses that Scott and his staff had charged to board credit cards," the Sun-Times reported. "Scott had a 13-minute conversation with mayoral press secretary Jacquelyn Heard starting at 11:01 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 15, according to police reports obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times about Scott's suicide."

As most of those who followed the Scott tragedy know, Scott was part of the Chicago "Dream Team" that spent a week on Copenhagen in September 2009 pushing to get the 2016 Olympics to Chicago. That team ultimately included President Barack Obama, who was viewed by many as going to Copenhagen to repay any number of favors he still owed Chicago politicians from the old days. Before his meteoric rise to the presidency, Obama was just another Chicago politician (and one who never opposed Mayor Daley on school "reform" issues).

While many in Chicago's schools eulogized Scott, others questioned his support for school closings, often with schools in the way of the Olympics, beginning in the so-called "Mid South", facing the brunt of the closings. School closings became an annual event under Scott and former Chicago Schools Chief Executive Officer Arne Duncan. In retrospect, many now view the closing as part of the city's master plan for the Olympics, and Scott's rapid decline in October and November 2009 as the result of his growing understanding that he was no longer in Mayor Daley's inner circle.

The Copenhagen "Dream Team" was so certain that Chicago was in the running for the 2016 games that back home the Home Team had assembled a huge crowd, many patronage workers and some from the schools, in the Daley Plaza to celebrate the event on the day the International Olympic Committee voted.

Unlike the majority of the personalities on the Olympic 2016 committee with Scott, Scott was never a part of the mutli-millionaire crowd that operates behind-the-scenes on behalf of corporate Chicago. If, as reported, Scott was being released from one of his main sources of income following the failure of Chicago to secure the Olympics, Scott's own personal finances were in jeopardy, and Scott's usefulness to the man he had served for decades was nearing an end. Friends told Substance that Scott could not understand how his petty cash expenses became Page One news in Chicago, while much greater scandals involving, among others, Arne Duncan and Ron Huberman, are completely ignored by the same newspaper that was chasing down Scott's expenses as Board president. 


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