* Last week, Bruce Rauner claimed that union leaders were “bribing politicians to give them unaffordable pensions, free healthcare, outrageous pay and benefits.” Sun-Times…
After pulling strings to get his daughter into Walter Payton College Prep, Bruce Rauner, a Republican candidate for governor, became one of the elite Chicago public high school’s biggest benefactors.
The Rauner Family Foundation gave $250,000 to the Payton Prep Initiative for Education on Dec. 14, 2009 — about a year and a half after Rauner called then-Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan to overturn his daughter’s rejection for admission, records examined by the Chicago Sun-Times reveal.
Rauner’s gift was the largest the not-for-profit foundation had received up to that point. It amounts to nearly 30 percent of all the money the group has gotten during its first five years, according to records the Rauner and Payton charities have filed with the state.
Rauner’s gift to the Payton Prep Initiative came two months after his foundation gave $500,000 to the Chicago Public Schools Foundation, run by the school system’s top administrators. His foundation previously had given money to that organization.
Rauner, a venture capitalist, called Chicago school officials in early 2008. Within days, his daughter was admitted to Payton for the 2008-09 academic year by the school’s principal, according to a source familiar with the matter.
With Bruce Rauner already sweating a rough week in his campaign for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, state Sen. Bill Brady turned up the heat Sunday and demanded answers about Rauner’s relationship with convicted serial con man Stuart Levine.
The answer from Rauner’s camp: The men have never met.
“Bruce doesn’t know him,” Rauner spokesman Mike Schrimpf said of Levine.
But Brady, one of Rauner’s rivals in the race, stood in front of microphones outside the James R. Thompson Center on Sunday and questioned what might have been going on behind the scenes when Levine, a trustee of the Teachers Retirement System, joined in a May 2003 vote, with Rauner present, for a $50 million deal between the system and Rauner’s firm, GTCR. He left the firm in 2012.
GTCR had a stake at the time in Chicago Public Schools’ dental insurer, CompBenefits. And Schrimpf acknowledged that Levine had a contractual relationship with CompBenefits from 1996 until around the time of his indictment in 2005. But he said Rauner didn’t know that in 2003.
Schrimpf said CompBenefits was in control of its own contracts.