'Transparency' at City Hall. Financial cover up down the street at CPS... Mayor orders audit of City of Chicago travel reimbursement expenses, but continues to allow massive financial corruption at Chicago Public Schools administration, budget

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced on the morning of September 12, 2011, that he was ordering the complete review of reimbursement of expenses for travel. A City of Chicago press release, which was embargoed until 1:00 a.m. today, outlined the latest check on irregularities and possible corruption of officials of the previous administration. In it, the mayor said that he was ordering the city's controller's office to conduct a "review of travel and mileage reimbursement policies for City departments and sister agencies." But apparently the mayor's version of "sister agencies" does not include the Chicago Public Schools, which continues to withhold massive amounts of public information and to stall on requests for even the simplest information under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel presiding over the September 8, 2011 meeting of the Chicago City Council. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.First, the latest City of Chicago policy. The press release read as follows:

September 12, 2011

Mayor’s Press Office 


Comprehensive Review Will Lead to Single, Uniform Policy as Part of Continuing Effort to Increase Accountability, Efficiency Across City Government

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today ordered City of Chicago Comptroller Amer Ahmad to conduct a full review of travel and mileage reimbursement policies for City departments and sister agencies, adding to his Administration's ongoing efforts to reform City government and ensure efficient and effective service delivery for residents across Chicago. The comprehensive review is due to the Mayor in 30 days.

“We must continue to ensure accountability, efficiency and transparency across City government,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Every department and sister agency must be diligent and responsible with its stewardship of taxpayer dollars and use all funds in the most effective way possible.”

At the Mayor’s order, Comptroller Ahmad will compare City department and sister agency travel and mileage reimbursement policies with others in the public and private sectors as well as review past expenditures. This review will generate recommendations targeting areas for cost savings across City government, lead to a singular uniform mileage reimbursement policy and ensure taxpayer funds are used only for critical operations that require transportation.

Sitting with some of the highest paid public officials in Chicago (including Police Supt. Garry McCarthy and CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard), while reporters dutifully cover the event, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel listens to a speech during the 'Faith Based' breakfast on August 25, 2011 at the "United Airlines Scout Lounge" at U.S. Cellular Field. Despite Emanuel's claims that he is pushing greater transparency in public spending, Emanuel's schools bureaucrats are refusing to answer Substance questions about the cost of the catered breakfast, which was paid for by the Chicago Public Schools 'Office of Faith-Based Initiatives.' Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Mayor Emanuel also sent a memo to the members of his Cabinet to notify them that travel and mileage reimbursement would be suspended.

This is the second time the Mayor has ordered an audit of expenses across the City; earlier this summer, he tasked Comptroller Ahmad with conducting a thorough review of City and sister agency credit card and reimbursement policies.

That review led to a new policy, effective July 31, 2011, which:

• Completely eliminated petty cash funds;

• Strictly outlined and limited permissible reimbursements;

• Decreased the number of City credit cards from over 500 to 30;

• Required all reimbursements to be posted online, and

• Replaced flawed and unclear department policies with coherent and explicit guidelines.

Well, it might be true that Mayor Emanuel is trying to reign in all kinds of silly corruptions up the street at Chicago's City Hall. But three blocks away, the whole idea of "transparency" and "accountability" for information on City Government under the Rahm Emanuel Administration is being taken as a big joke. Take the recent example of the breakfast hosted in August by the CPS "Office of Faith-Based Initiatives". It was a big deal, part of the buildup for Rahm's waiver attack on the Chicago Teachers Union contract. At the breakfast, reported last month in Substance, the preachers (many of them already beneficiaries of CPS preacher patronage) were fed, then asked to sign, circulate and promote the petition for a Longer School Day that Mayor Emanuel waved at the City Council on September 8, when the craven aldermen and ladies passed a resolution for the Longer School Day while a bunch of subsidized demonstrators (some from Christian schools with no relationship to CPS) paraded around and chanted for the Longer School Day downstairs.

So it should have been no problem, in this era of Rahm transparency, for CPS to answer a couple of simple questions about the costs of the so-called "Office of Faith-Based Initiatives." Substance reporter John Kugler put in a FOIA request for the information. What follows is the story as of September 8, 2011. Because CPS refused to answer Kugler's questions about the preacher patronage office (er., Office of Faith-Based Initiatives), he is now forced to go to the "Public Access Counselor" of the Illinois Attorney General's office:

To the Public Access Counselor,

I have requested all information related to the new Office of Faith-Based Initiatives within Chicago Public School and the Chicago Public Schools has not given me any information to this date regarding my request. Specifically I am looking for all contracts, vendor requests, authorizations, communications, Board Reports and any other documents that relate to the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives within Chicago Public Schools.

Thank You

John Kugler, Reporter Substance™ News

5132 W. Berteau Ave

Chicago, IL 60641

(773) 725-7502




Subject: FOIA - Office of Faith Base Initiatives

Date: Thu, 25 Aug 2011 22:53:03 +0000

John Kugler

3701 S. Winchester

Chicago IL, 60609


August 25, 2011

Cassandra Daniels


125 South Clark Street

7th Floor

Chicago, IL 60603


Dear Records Request Officer:

Pursuant to the state Freedom of Information Act (5 ILCS 140/),

I request access to and copies of all records and notes in regards to the Office of Faith Base Initiatives:

1. Current List of all employees in the Office of Faith Base Initiatives.

2. Current List of all consultants working with/for the Office of Faith Base Initiatives.

3. Any and all meeting, agenda, directives, communications documents regarding the staffing and recruitment of personnel and administrators for the Office of Faith Base Initiatives.

4. Any and all job postings advertising all the positions that are now filled in the Office of Office of Faith Base Initiatives.

5. Current Line Item List of all expenditures in the Office of Performance, including supplies, auxiliary staff and any other expenses associated with the work in the Office of Faith Base Initiatives.

6. Current Qualifications and or Educational background including Illinois State Board of Education certifications for all the following Office of Faith Base Initiatives staff and and administrators.

7. All expenses, contracts and receipts associated with the work in the Office of Faith Base Initiatives.

8. All information, communications, documents, receipts, contracts, vendors, budget lines, appropriations, permission slips, and approvals for and related to an August 25, 2011 breakfast was hosted by Chicago Public Schools at U.S. Cellular Field.

9. All information, communications, document, approvals, permissions slips and vendor contracts related to the Kenwood High School Academy Choir attending and signing at an August 25, 2011 breakfast was hosted by Chicago Public Schools at U.S. Cellular Field.

10. Copy of original letter from Rev. Reynaldo Kyles to attendees of the August 25, 2011 breakfast that was hosted by Chicago Public Schools at U.S. Cellular Field.

11. Any and all planning, coordination, communications, documents, agenda, emails regarding ministers and a rally on August 24 2011 in front of Board of Education supporting and demanding longer school days and school year.

Thank you for your assistance.

John Kugler, Reporter

Substance News

5132 W. Berteau Ave

Chicago, IL 60641

(773) 725-7502


September 12, 2011 at 7:35 AM

By: Bob Busch



While you are at it please try and find out if the Rev. Reynaldo Kyles graduated from Simeon.

September 13, 2011 at 7:03 AM

By: Rod Estvan

IFT President has second thoughts

Substance readers will recall an article last month on how IFT President Montgomery came out with comments supporting SB7. Now the Sun Times reports he has looked up and noticed that his largest union is in danger, just brilliant.

Rod Estvan

Sun Times article follows:

Illinois teachers union official blasts CPS longer-day tactics

September 12, 2011

The president of the Illinois Federation of Teachers Monday urged Chicago Public School officials to “stop trying to undermine” the Chicago Teachers Union’s contract by urging schools to approve waivers allowing longer school days.

The waiver provision in the contract “was not intended” to be used in the way CPS is trying to use it, according to a statement by Daniel Montgomery, president of the Illinois Federation of Teachers, the CTU’s parent union.

Montgomery called CTU reports about the waiver process “very disturbing.’’ CPS officials and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel say waivers are allowed under the contract, and teachers at five schools have approved them by large margins. CTU President Karen Lewis also serves as executive vice president of the IFT.

September 19, 2011 at 12:31 AM

By: John Kugler

Bait-and-Switch Game

“This is what I said I was going to do, and I’m doing it. I’m actually executing exactly what I said I was going to do on the campaign, which is what people voted for. I didn’t do a bait-and-switch.”


reminds me of some other famous quotes:

"I'm not a crook."

"I'm going to say this again: I did not have sexual relations with that woman"

I have a "wide stance" I am a "wide guy", was only picking a piece of paper from the floor.

first person to answer the questions of who the quotes are from gets a hot cup of coffee from me.

September 19, 2011 at 9:33 PM

By: Jim Cavallero

Kugler's Questions

Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton and Larry Craig. Lots of cream no sugar please.

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