CPS official charged with lying to the FBI

Pedro Soto allegedly made a false statement Dec. 17 about whether he had given out “nonpublic information” to an unnamed individual.

By Jon Seidel, Lauren FitzPatrick, and Nader Issa Updated Aug 27, 2020, 1:43pm CDT

A key Chicago Public Schools official with close ties to the CEO has been charged with lying to the FBI about a controversial private custodial contract worth at least $1 billion, federal court records show.

Pedro Soto, until days ago chief of staff to CPS CEO Janice Jackson, allegedly made a false statement Dec. 17 about whether he had given out “nonpublic information” to an unnamed individual during a bidding process. He allegedly told the FBI, “he would want to get information, but I don’t think I gave him anything.”

Pedro Soto allegedly made a false statement Dec. 17 about whether he had given out “nonpublic information” to an unnamed individual.

CPS had been soliciting bids in April 2016 to privatize the management of custodial and engineering services for the entire school district, work the feds estimated was worth at least $1 billion, with Soto on the committee evaluating the proposals. The company the FBI was asking about wasn’t named.

Soto, 45, has been charged in a document known as an information, which is typically a signal a defendant intends to plead guilty.

According to June 30 staffing records, Soto was paid $175,000 a year as Jackson’s chief of staff. He has worked for the public school system for more than two decades, CPS records show. Before she was elevated to the top post, Soto served as Jackson’s chief of school operations while she was chief educational officer under CEO Forrest Claypool.

Jackson wrote in a letter to CPS staff Thursday she found out about Soto’s pending charges last Friday and accepted his resignation that day. She called the charges “a deeply disappointing matter that I take incredibly seriously” and said it was a “stunning betrayal of trust and an immense failure of judgment and character.”

Jackson said Soto’s case was referred to the district’s Inspector General last week for an investigation into whether Soto had influenced any CPS actions.

“While our understanding of this issue is developing, our preliminary review indicates that Mr. Soto’s actions did not influence the award of any contract or services, and the lobbyist Mr. Soto provided nonpublic information to has not represented any current or former CPS vendors,” the schools chief wrote.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

original article posted @

https://chicago.suntimes.com/education/2020/8/27/21404136/cps-official-charged-lying-fbi-pedro-soto?fbclid=IwAR0H21A__xtF-oYzHNZ1iXZq4bJhBs82skCsdlUCjh-D1jnd-GoIA0AE0B4



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