Fraudulent LSC voting at Juarez High School challenged... 'We are challenging an election process that was tainted from the beginning in favor of candidates close to the principal and to Alderman [Danny] Solis...'

Juarez High School whistle blower Manny Bermudez stands in front of the school with some of the evidence her presented about fraud and corruption in the Juarez attendance counting. Bermudez, whose family has been active in Pilsen for generations, was driven out of the school by the principal, and recently won a grievance in his case. A hearing to rule on allegations of vote fraud and manipulation of the Local School Council (LSC) election for Juarez High School was held at Chicago Public School (CPS) headquarters at 42 W. Madison, on Thursday, May 26, 2016. Community organizers from Pilsen Alliance challenged the balloting and vote count. The claim is that the alderman, Danny Solis, and Juarez officials eliminated many voters while allowing ineligible voters to cast ballots.

One signed affidavit used as evidence in this case shows the fraud during the election process, “I further state that I should not have been allowed to cast ballot based on living outside the Benito Juarez Academy attendance boundaries,” that affidavit, signed by Javier Ruiz, stated.

Byron Sigcho, Interim Executive Director of the Pilsen Alliance, made the following statement: “We are challenging an election process that was tainted from the beginning in favor of candidates close to the principal and Alderman Solis. It is unacceptable that we do not have an exact count of votes due to the mishandling of ballots and biased election judges. We had a positive hearing with an arbitration judge and we expect to have another election in the fall.”

The "Juarez LSC Post-election Challenge Hearing and the Challenge Petition" was signed by 29 community members alleging the following, all supported with signed witness statements:

#1 i) People who live outside the attendance boundaries were allowed to cast votes in the Local School Council election on April 14, 2016. These were people who were neither parents of a student at Benito Juarez Academy, nor were they students at Benito Juarez Academy over the age of 18.

ii) The failure of the election judges to accurately check the attendance boundaries map allowed for votes to be counted that should not have happened if the election judges had done a better job checking the map.

#2 i) people were allowed to vote at Benito Juarez Academy Local School Council election with only one form of identification in some cases without establishing proof of residency. Furthermore, voters who cast ballot[s] with one form of identification were not provided “Affidavit of Challenged voter for” as required by election judges.

ii) The failure of the election judges to consistently request two forms of identification to all voters, in addition to failing to require voters complete “Affidavit of Challenge voter form” adversely affected [the] election because people who did not provide (2) forms of I.D. and establishing proof of residency were allowed to cast ballots as regular voters who had provided IDs and met requirements.

#3 i) Voters were not explained neither verbally nor visually pointed towards voter directions signs, by election judges that in order for their ballot to be marked valid, they must have S two intersecting lines. Election judges did not inform voters at all, how to mark their ballots. In some cases, voters had to come back to election judges how to vote after they had been provided to the voters.

ii) failure of election judges to properly inform voters how to cast ballots to avoid spoiling their ballots severely affected outcome of election as approximately 50 votes were discarded because voters marked a check mark instead of an x or cross in the vote box. LSC judge training video clearly explained to voters how to vote.

#4 i) Approximately 50 votes were discarded by election judge Mr. Raul Proa allegedly based on putting the wrong marking check R instead of two intersecting lines S. Pollwatchers were denied confirmation that in fact ballots were in fact spoiled. No pollwatcher was allowed to visually determine and verify that the votes were legitimately spoiled.

ii) Since no pollwatcher was allowed within 6 feet of the vote count, serious doubts of the legality of the procedures taken by Mr. Proa undermined severely the outcome of the election. The election judges failed to be transparent as they refused to show pollwatcher the spoiled ballots. They were quickly stuffed in an envelope and forgotten.

Juarez Academy High School is no stranger to fraud and corruption. The school has lost multiple arbitration cases concerning wage theft, counselor reassignments, grade fixing, attendance tampering and retaliatory firings.

In a high profile case, whistleblower Manny Bermudez, the school's Chicago Teachers Union representative, was fired because of his anti-corruption work at the school and his forthright contract enforcement. After Bermudez was fired illegally, the Chicago Teachers Union worked to force the Board of Education to reinstate him to the school with back pay. Only last week, another teacher settled her case of improper layoff for $100,000 in back pay. Manny Bermudez is now fighting against his ratings that have not conformed to his contractual rights which he believes is in retaliation for his winning his job back.

“I don’t care if they go after me again, I am ready," Bermudez told Substance. "The LSC case shows what this guy [Principal Ocon] is about. It is really good, he is busted. Just like when he fired me, he was wrong. Justice always wins,” Manny commented on the current election fraud allegations.

Pilsen Alliance is located in an industrial area established in the mid-1800s. The Pilsen neighborhood has long been a thriving immigrant community. As the population evolved from Bohemian to Polish to predominately Mexican, the community retained its working-class roots. However, during the past ten years, significant development has occurred in the area, leading many Pilsen residents to fear that the forces of gentrification would soon displace the thriving community they had worked so hard to build. [Additional information is available at the Pilsen Alliance --].


May 27, 2016 at 6:34 PM

By: Joseph Enderle

Place where voting is taken place.

Could you all just have the vote at the Benito Juarez High School? This just might be the best location to have a vote at? Thanks.

May 27, 2016 at 7:57 PM

By: Rose Moore

Corrupt principle without principles.

This corrupt principle without principles alone with his corrupt followers who promote everything bad should read and apply the the BIBLE. This will teach them honesty and good morals.

May 28, 2016 at 6:57 PM

By: Manuel Bermudez

Unethical Behavior

I always said the way you expose lies is with the truth. This is nothing new at Benito Juarez, we need a principal with true morals and believes. We do not need a principal who is unethical. My mother in law fought hard for CPS to build Benito Juarez Academy. She often wonders in the end what they actually fought for, people went on hunger strikes for this school. The logo of Juarez is the eagle, that represents strength, pride, resilience. We need a leader who see this in our students and staff.

May 29, 2016 at 3:46 PM

By: Mildred Chatman

Corrupt principal maintaining corruption with cps approval

Principal Juan Carlos Ocon could have been a inspiration to the students, faculty and the community by doing things legally and he had the resources to do so. He choose to do everything illegal to make a name for himself and CPS allowed this principal to stay in office for years settling lawsuits and continuing to fight lawsuits while he's under investigation for numerous charges. What is the policy of CPS considering when it comes to principal Juan Carlos Ocon as he continues his reign of corruption violating policies? This is a travesty and he has set a bad example for all principals who are honest and generally care about their students, faculty and community. When will CPS stop covering up for him? Does anyone know the policy to keep a corrupt principal in office? Principal Juan Carlos Ocon holds that record of corruption at CPS.

May 29, 2016 at 5:18 PM

By: Jabbar Eggleston

This article

Great article and great courage Mr. Bermudez. You are a great example of what one looks like who stands up for righteousness sake. You know its sad that there is so much corruption in not just Illinois but also at the federal, local and educational level. We out of all people should have integrity especially since we hold positions of public trust. Its very disheartening to hear of the continued misdealings and corruption at Juarez. As a teacher who previously worked there, I know first hand how valuable that school is to the community, and how rewarding it was to work there and be amongst such a great population of people. Sadly, with all that is going on there it makes me no longer want to visit and thats sad. Im glad that there are people like you who are willing to stand up for what is right even when doing so has negatively affected you and your family. You have endured so much and faced many challenges but like you, I believe our students are worth fighting for and you have my support. Keep fighting for "truth" and for what you believe in!

May 29, 2016 at 6:02 PM

By: Jose Guerra

Principal Ocon

While good principals like Troy LaRaviere are fired and persecuted, corrupt principals like Ocon are protected by CPS and corrupt politicians. This principal was silent when Danny Solis was pushing for a metal shredder to be open right in front of the school. The Alderman received $70,000 and the principal failed to inform parents. Ocon approved 99 luxury condos right in front of Benito Juarez even though he does not live in the community and these condos would displace the same students he suppose to serve, and again he failed to inform parents about this. Ocon makes decisions on behalf of students and parents and does not inform about decisions that affect them, not him. He does the dirty work of CPS and a corrupt alderman, and got involved in a LSC election to make sure the alderman representatives continue covering up for him. Vicente Sanchez, chief of staff for Alderman Solis sat in the LSC for years as well as Alvaro Obregon who run his Mariachi project using school property even though it represents a conflict of interest. They wanted to put two more puppets in this LSC, Oscar Torres a Solis precinct captain and Ismael Cuevas who works as chief of staff for an alderman in the 10th ward and recently moved to Pilsen. From teacher grievances, fixing of grades to the mechanic shop scandal ( it is time for change at Juarez, glad to see people fighting the good fight, too many good teacher let go, and too many economic interests getting on the way of getting good education for our children, that is what we need. Shame on those who want to play the game of this corrupt principal, corrupt alderman and those who think of education as a business and for their own benefit.

May 29, 2016 at 7:32 PM

By: Rose Moore


Strength, pride and resilience must be some where else. Our students are in trouble. By the way where did the black teachers go, and the ones still there how are they being treated.😟

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