From The Chicago Tribune: The Chicago school system says it intends to renew contracts for two vendors who allegedly provided improper gifts to district officials. Less than two months ago, Louise Esaian, the district's food service director, resigned after being accused of accepting gifts from the vendors, Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality and Preferred Meal Systems. A district spokeswoman says there wasn't enough time to put the contracts out for a competitive bid. In a news release, the district says the renewed contract with Chartwells includes $830,000 in savings. Ethics training will be provided to vendor employees, and Chartwells is donating $90,000 for student and staff events. No such savings or donations were announced for Preferred.
RELATED...from The Chicago Sun-Times: Chicago school officials say they’ll save $750,000 after negotiating a contract extension with a politically connected milk vendor that will cut the cost of its $20 million-a-year deal by a penny a carton. The decision follows an investigation by the Sun-Times and Better Government Association found that the city’s schools pay more for milk than many smaller suburban districts. The schools’ inspector general’s office continues to investigate the milk contract held by C&M JV 1 Co., a venture controlled by the McMahon family, which has ties to Ald. Edward M. Burke and other public officials.
MARCH 2012...from The Chicago Tribune: Louise Esaian, the Chicago Public Schools food services director accused of accepting improper gifts from district food vendors, has resigned, officials say. The Chicago school board had been set to decide Esaian's fate in a closed-door disciplinary hearing. Esaian and two members of her staff were accused earlier this month in an inspector general's report of accepting perhaps thousands of dollars in improper gifts.
Earlier...from The Chicago Tribune: In the wake of a gifts scandal inside the Chicago Public Schools food services department, employees who oversee vendor contracts will begin a new round of training to reaffirm the district's code of ethics. According to an email from schools chief Jean-Claude Brizard to district staff, "we will be requiring that all managers within the district reaffirm that they have read, understand and pledge to follow the Code of Ethics using a process that we will outline in a few days."
From The Chicago Tribune: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools chief Jean-Claude Brizard are calling for for the school district's food services director to be fired, after an inspector general's report accused Louise Esaian of accepting thousands of dollars in improper gifts from food vendors. Brizard plans to seek Esaian's termination at the March 28 school board meeting, adding that her alleged actions showed a "blatant and utter disregard" for the district's code of ethics.
From The Chicago Tribune: The Chicagoschool system's inspector general says the district's food services director accepted gifts from two vendors that have combined food contracts with the district in excess of $75 million. Esaian told the inspector general that the gifts from Chartwells and Preferred Meals Systems didn't influence her decisions, according to the report.