AngelSaint1 | Chicago Reader

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Re: “An analysis of Senator Kirk's charter school 'analysis'

From a letter that went out to dozens of media sources, funders and politicians:

I am sending this letter to all interested parties to report a social injustice at Aspira Inc. of Illinois. As an example of gross misappropriation of public funding, the Aspira Board of Directors led by the chairman, Fernando Grillo and the Chief Executive Officer, Jose Rodriguez, spent over $50,000.00 of public funds on a three day “retreat” in a Lake Geneva resort, over the summer. This mini-vacation, courtesy of the tax-payers of Illinois was put together by Grillo and Rodriguez to benefit the politically connected consulting firm of Charlie Serrano and Company who was awarded a lucrative no-bid contract to provide “board training” to the group. Serrano, who sources indicate is a close friend to Grillo was paid $25,000.00 to provide board development even though he has no experience in board development. They spent another $25,000 in other related expenses including hotel rooms, meals etc.

This $50,000.00 should have been used to pay for resources to help the Aspira Charter High School where 85% of the students are not meeting academic standards. It should have been used to pay for a full time specialized teacher to help bring up the scores. It should have been used to pay for after-school tutoring benefitting the lowest performers at the schools. But apparently education is not the board’s or CEO’s priority. Instead they decided to use the $50,000 on themselves in one weekend.

Fernando Grillo, is a partner in the investment firm of Samuel Ramirez & Company, and a close friend to disgraced former governor Rod Blagojevich, crooked Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios, 31st Ward Alderman Ray Suarez, Congressman Luis Gutierrez and State Senator Iris Martinez among others. He and his investment firm have contributed thousands of dollars to their political campaigns (this can be confirmed through campaign disclosures in the State Board of Elections website). You may remember Grillo as the Director of the Illinois Department of Professional Regulations who was forced to resign under a cloud of suspicion just prior to Blagojevich’s indictment. Ironically this department regulates financial institutions. Fernando Grillo used his influence to hire Serrano and Company to do the board training. How many more contracts has he steered to his friends? This is a clear conflict of interest.

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by AngelSaint1 on 11/23/2011 at 11:29 AM

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