Mayor: Fire Schools Official Who Allegedly Took Free Meals, Packers Tickets

CHICAGO (STMW) — Chicago Public Schools food service manager Louise Esaian could lose her job for allegedly accepting free meals, Target gift cards and even Green Bay Packers tickets from two vendors with multimillion-dollar food service contracts.

Since 2008, Esaian, two staffers and other CPS employees allegedly accepted gifts worth more than $86,000 from food service vendors Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality and Preferred Meals Systems, according to a source familiar with the findings of an inspector general investigation.

Inspector General James Sullivan didn’t accuse Esaian of a crime, but he recommended Esaian and two other employees be disciplined, the source said.

Chicago Public Schools CEO John-Claude Brizard, with Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s blessing, said he plans to terminate Esaian from the $147,000-a-year job she’s had since 2007. The fate of the other two employees remains uncertain.

“It is Chicago’s children — the very people we are charged to protect — who get hurt when someone in the public service abuses their position for private benefit,” Emanuel said in a statement issued Saturday.

For more than three years, Esaian and other CPS employees received gifts that included $25 Target gift cards that were passed out at regular “appreciation luncheons,” the source said. The inspector general reviewed expense reports from both food vendors showing that Esaian regularly attended after-work dinners with company representatives who picked up the check. She also accepted Green Bay Packers tickets that she used for herself and family members. Cash was never exchanged and it isn’t clear how much the gifts accepted by Esaian were worth, the source said.

CPS employees are required to report accepting gifts worth more than $50. Esaian and the other two employees charged with ethics violations never reported receiving gifts, the source said.

Esaian’s “blatant and utter disregard for our district’s code of ethics is unacceptable,” Brizard said.

Esaian couldn’t be reached for comment.

The IG probe called for sanctions against Chartwells and Preferred, and additional monitoring of their contracts that together total more than $75 million.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • tom sharp

    Too bad Rahm isn’t so strict on ethics for the Daley, Burke, Madigan, Jackson, and Berrios families.

    • lottie1

      Yes Tom now that they help bankrup the city,Ra-betrayer is following suit
      .new report coming saying the suburgs are going broke,nothing but satan policy at work,greed at its worse GOD help us cause these nuts all for greed,and corruption,all should be cell mates.

  • German Leprechaun

    But “the gifts were not an attempt to buy favor with the district and said they did not influence the bidding.” Riiiiiiiiight… Guess $147k a year ain’t enough for some people. I’ve lived well on a fraction of that!

  • Dylan

    147K for a food service manager – must be connected – no wonder they don’t have any money – work in the public sector – efn golden.

    Tom Sharp – you are correct – those you named should all be sent to Blago’s new house. Especially Daley – corruption king.

  • Juana Martinez

    Principals and assistant principals make 6 figures in Chicago as well. CPS doesn’t have money to pay their teachers, but they have plenty of money to pay administrators. Also, she isn’t the only person in CPS who disregards the ethics policy. Every year, principals go over the ethics policy yet some do not follow the policy. For example, Mary Weaver, principal at Scammon Elementary School, has bribed her local school council, fired and harassed some of her staff members, filed fake police reports against community members, campaigned for political candidates, shifted money away from its proper functions, drained a memorial grant for a former assistant principal, cheated on the ISAT tests, violated special education students’ civil rights, and the list can go on and on. Community members and staff members have repeatedly asked the inspector general for help, yet nothing has been done except that Mary Weaver has become more brutal and erratic in her behavior. CPS officials have shown that they do not care about the 1000 students at Scammon.

    • blackbettyboop39

      You are describing the exact same thing that I believe is happening at this school on the north side, and nothing is being done about it Any suggestions on what I, a concerned parent, can do?


    Martinez, I guess I revealed to much about Hirsch and they would not post my blog but the principal at Hirsch High School is in the same boat as yours, but again the inspector general or cps has done nothing to make schools better places by getting rid of poor principals. Several people have written the IG’s about Joyce Cooper but nothing has been done. Numerous grievances have been filed. EEOC has been written along with isbe but again, nothing is done. The books at this schools are raggedy, where is the money going?

    • tom sharp

      Hey Been There: The political swine in this town have no shame. The School Principal’s job is all about clout and politics and nothing about being good at the job. There are a dozen other principals who should be shot on sight, but if the aldermen and Rahm like them, they get immunity. Where I live, my phone messages and mail box are full of BS from Jesse White, Danny Davis, and the 43rd Ward Democrats telling me how I should vote for the bribe taking Derrick Smith (he was all over the TV and newspapers last week for taking a bribe to okay a daycare center). They hate the other guy Tom Swiss because he used to be a Republican! Term Limits of One!!!

    • blackbettyboop39

      My children’s school doesn’t have air conditions in students rooms, but the principals office has an air condition. There also seems to be a lot of friends and possible family members of the principal working at this school, and once again the the board keep assigning letters parents are sending regarding these concerns to the same person who I believe is friends with the principal.

  • nick

    no wonder why this state is broke is there anybody that isnt on the take the works for this dam state .

  • chicago's own

    Welcome to the city,cook, and state of greeds.its old news.why bother.only way
    is to vote out all the greeding elected officials.

  • Chicago Schools FS Manager Under Fir for Receiving Vendor Gifts |

    […] free meals, Target gift cards and even Green Bay Packers tickets from two foodservice vendors, reports CBS Chicago. It is alleged that since 2008, Esaian, two staffers and other district employees […]

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