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The [Monday] Papers

By Steve Rhodes / Posted on August 29, 2016

"A bus company the Chicago Public Schools fired more than two years ago, accusing it of overbilling taxpayers at least $1.5 million, has since gotten deals worth more than $500,000 from another city agency, records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times show," Dan Mihalopoulos reports.

"Chicago Park District officials signed two contracts with Jewel's Bus Co. totaling more than $541,000 to bus students to and from camps at dozens of parks this summer."

Maybe they thought it was a Mariano's now.


I know, that was cheap. I spent too much time trying to craft a Jewels joke and finally had to go with something.


But seriously, maybe the park district just didn't now about Jewel's past.

"The park district hired the company - which has found support from the Rev. Jesse Jackson - even after receiving letters from a school official warning about the problems CPS had with the company."


"We uncovered a great deal of illegal activity by Jewel's Bus Co," Paul Osland, who recently left his post as CPS' chief facilities officer, wrote in March. "I anticipate that the issues with Jewel's will end up in the public eye and I would hate to see [the park district] embarrassed."

No worry, there - the park district is incapable of embarrassment.

"[P]arks spokeswoman Jessica Maxey-Faulkner says officials decided they had 'reasonable assurance that the CPD is paying only for services completed in compliance with the contract requirements.

"'The payment terms of the CPS contract were substantially different and did not apply to the park district's payment structure,' she says."

I don't have any idea what that means, but I know it doesn't mean, "We're embarrassed."

Jessica Maxey-Faulkner, you are Today's Worst Person In Chicago.


This makes Jessica a two-time winner. The first time was for this, on June 11, 2015:

In a small protest and news conference before Wednesday night's park board meeting, some residents questioned why the Park District waived a $937,500 rental fee to use Grant Park and nearby parkland for the recent NFL draft, when that money could have helped keep the Humboldt Park Beach open this summer," the Tribune reported.

"Park District spokeswoman Jessica Maxey-Faulkner said the two matters were unrelated, adding the NFL draft offered free programs and activities for people who attended.

"It's apples and oranges," Maxey-Faulkner said. "It's not a waiver. It's a partnership."

Every time I call it a partnership, you call it a waiver. And every time I call it a waiver, you call it a partnership . . .


Another Maxey-Faulkner appearance on the Beachwood, from July 1, 2013, about Live Nation's contract with the city:

"This blog reported on the questionable aspects of that deal on May 30. At that time, Park District Spokeswoman Jessica Maxey-Faulkner had failed for seven weeks to provide interviews with parks officials or answer questions about the deal.

"Another month later, the public information officer still has not answered questions submitted in writing or provided the requested interviews with parks officials."


Back to the Sun-Times:

"CPS records show Osland wrote in 2014 that he found Jewel's 'did not own or operate sufficient buses, nor did it employ a sufficient number of drivers that would be required to operate all of the alleged first routes for which it billed the board.'"

That probably seemed normal to CPS, which, after all, doesn't have enough books to supply to its students. I mean, sufficiency is not a metric with which they are strict about.


"Jewel's, based on the Far South Side, had been one of CPS' major contractors for student bus services, paid more than $75 million by the Chicago Board of Education during the 11 years before being dumped in July 2014."

See, they did have enough buses to drive that money to the bank. That's the only bar you have to jump in Chicago.


"The company had a rocky relationship with CPS long before the overbilling allegations. In 2010, CPS officials accused Jewel's of using vans, rather than buses, to transport children, even though its contract didn't allow that."

Were they catering vans?


Go read the rest - there's really too much good stuff for me to elucidate here. Feature players include Jesse Jackson Sr. and Ald. Carrie Austin. Letters were written, phone calls were made, campaign donations were deposited.


FYI: Jewel's Bus Co. has a party room.


The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Is in pre-production.


Meant To Muzzle
Corporate Whistleblower Settlements Could Violate SEC Rules.


From the Beachwood sports desk . . .

Chili Sell-Off
The White Sox's new direction? Online mortgages.

Onesies & Wine Cork
Cubs jump the shark at best time of season.

Bearly There
Starters need final exhibition game.



Physicist Who Made Wondrous Discovery Dies.


Great Lakes Take Savage Toll On Swimmers.


Inside The World's Biggest Record Collection.


The Chomsky Puzzle: Piecing Together A Celebrity Scientist.


Subscribe And Save On Amazon? Don't Count On It.


A sampling.

Only possible if news organizations agree to be managed.


I can't hear you over the sound of David Duke praising Trump as "the next step."



So . . . seek another lender?




The Beachwood Tronc Line: Resume ready.


MUSIC - The Week In Chicago Rock.
TV - Progressive Pie.
POLITICS - Corporate Whistleblower Settlements Meant To Muzzle.
SPORTS - Onesies & Wine Cork.

BOOKS - Portrait Of A Remarkable African-American Town In Northern Illinois.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Beachwood Photo Booth: Daily Double.

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