CHICAGO (CBS) — A swim coach who previously was disciplined for an arrangement allowing his private swim club to rent the pool at Whitney Young High School “for little to no cost,” also pocketed nearly $30,000 from improper side deals to lease the pool to three other outside groups, according to a new watchdog report.
From April 2013 through September 2016, Whitney Young swim coach Andy Parro collected at least $29,604 from three outside groups through “off-the books agreements” and kept the money for himself, even though he had no authority to rent out pool time at all, according to the latest annual report from Chicago Public Schools Inspector General Nicholas Schuler. The report does not name the school or Parro, but the CBS 2 Investigators previously have reported on allegations against Parro involving improper use of the Whitney Young pool.
In 2016, Parro and his club were suspended from doing business with the district, after Schuler’s office found he had made an arrangement with the principal and assistant principal to rent the pool for his private club for a mere $1.20 per hour between August 2014 and September 2016. The inspector general estimated the school gave up $96,301.70 to $582,504.20 in possible rent due to the improper arrangement.
In the wake of Schuler’s report on that arrangement, the inspector general’s office received new complaints that Parro had been improperly subletting his swim club’s lease, and that he was still engaging in business with the school even after the Chicago Board of Education had moved to bar him from doing so.
Following an investigation into the new complaints, Schuler’s office determined he had made several arrangements to lease the Whitney Young swimming pool to outside groups, collecting at least $29,604 from three groups between April 2013 and September 2016. The inspector general found that money was never turned over to the school, as it should have been.
“In fact, the school clerk did not even know that any outside groups had rented the pool, other than the coach’s club team. Accordingly, the OIG found that the coach essentially stole the nearly $30,000 in rental fees (and possibly more) he collected by pocketing those funds for himself, rather than turning them over to the school as he should have done,” the report stated.
Schuler’s office said the principal and assistant principal at Whitney Young either knew or should have known about Parro’s improper side deals to lease the pool.
The inspector general’s report stated emails showed one of the groups involved in the deals with Parro showed a representative informed the principal and assistant principal she was renting pool time directly from Parro, not the school.
The principal and assistant principal also were reprimanded after the previous investigation of Parro, and put on notice of his questionable practices, according to Schuler’s office.
“The principal, in particular, clearly maintained a very permissive approach towards the coach and his activities at the school. In this case, the OIG concluded that he was either complicit in the coach’s scheme to profit from his use of the school pool or willfully turned a blind eye to his dealings with outside groups,” Schuler’s report stated.
In addition, even after the board suspended Parro and his club from doing business with CPS, he tried to circumvent that decision by trying to merge his club with a competing swim club, essentially continuing to use the Whitney Young swimming pool under another name.
Schuler’s office found the principal helped him by pushing the district to rent the pool to that new club for $25 per hour, a rate far less than he had charged to the outside groups involved in his illicit side deals.
Even after voluntarily giving up that arrangement, Parro violated a deal with the Board of Education by hosting a private for-profit swim meet at the school for his old club and the new club, and was paid $750 for working the event, according to Schuler’s office.
Parro has been charged with four felony counts of theft, and one felony count of official misconduct, according to Schuler’s office and Cook County court records. His next court date is set for Jan. 29.
Schuler’s office had planned to recommend Parro be fired, but he resigned before his office issued its report, and the district already has placed him on its “do not hire” list.
The Board of Education also has moved to permanently prohibit Parro and his private clubs from doing any further business with the district, including the use of any CPS facilities.
Whitney Young’s principal, Joyce Dorsey Kenner, also was suspended for five days without pay, and the assistant principal was issued a written reprimand as a result of the latest investigation of Parro.