Federal authorities are investigating possible securities violations involving the state’s largest charter-school operator, the scandal-scarred United Neighborhood Organization.
The federal Securities and Exchange Commission requested documents last month from the clout-heavy Chicago group, according to a letter obtained Wednesday by the Chicago Sun-Times. […]
A top UNO executive, Miguel d’Escoto, resigned in February, days after the Sun-Times reported the group gave $8.5 million of business to companies owned by two of d’Escoto’s brothers with money from $98 million in state school-construction grant funding.
The SEC is looking at how UNO raised more than $37.5 million on Wall Street in 2011 through state-approved bonds, the letter shows. […]
Quinn’s move to restore funding allowed UNO to finish construction of the state-funded UNO Soccer Academy High School on the Southwest Side.
Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th), a major Quinn campaign fund-raiser, had urged the governor to restore the funding, believed to be the largest government subsidy nationwide for a charter operator.
So far, the state has given UNO $83 million of the promised $98 million.
UNO also gets tens of millions of dollars a year from the Chicago Public Schools, which it relies on to run its schools and repay money it has borrowed.
The SEC sent a June 26 letter to the state’s economic development agency asking for documents, meeting summaries and other communications related to the grants. The Tribune obtained that letter through an open records request.
Rangel, a co-chairman of Emanuel’s 2011 campaign, took some responsibility in May for the financial troubles at UNO as he stepped down as board chairman. He said he had failed to exercise the proper oversight during a time UNO experienced rapid growth. Rangel, however, remains the organization’s CEO, a $275,000-a-year job.