CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago Police broke up a demonstration at City Hall on Thursday, after activists staged a sit-in to protest controversial bond deals at the Chicago Public Schools.
After seated protesters refused to move from in front of elevators at the City Hall lobby, police officers began escorting them away.
Labor unions and community groups were represented in the crowd nearby, and Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Jesse Sharkey said the protesters want action on some bad investments made by the Chicago Board of Education.
“LaSalle Street banks have profited, literally hundreds of millions of dollars, off auction rate swaps – complex financial deals in which the risks were never disclosed to the city and the board – and we’re asking the leaders of this city to take action, and get those millions of dollars back, so that we can put them into good-quality community schools,” he said.
A Chicago Tribune investigation found interest-rate swaps on $1 billion in auction-rate bonds issued by CPS from 2003 to 2007 could cost the district $100 million more than it would have paid for traditional fixed-rate debt.
Sharkey said other school districts have been able to renegotiate such toxic deals, but Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said it’s too late to do anything about those losing investments.