Suspended principal says he was looking into “shady city deals”

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A principal suspended by Chicago Public Schools is lashing out online tonight, blogging about what he calls “shady city deals” involving the mayor, the Board of Education, and even basketball legend Magic Johnson.

CPS and the Mayor’s Office insist there’s nothing improper going on, but former elementary school principal Troy LaRaviere alleges that not only was he railroaded by the Board of Education, but the problems at Chicago Public Schools run very deep and go very high.

On February 17 of last year, basketball legend Magic Johnson and Mayor Emanuel took a memorable photo-op to announce a $10 million dollar donation from one of Magic’s companies to a summer jobs program for at-risk Chicago youth. Within a month, that same company would donate a quarter-of-a-million dollars to the mayor’s campaign fund while the mayor was locked in a tough re-election battle with County Commissioner Chuy Garcia.

That was after another of Johnson’s companies, sodexoMAGIC, was awarded an $80 million dollar contract by the Board of Education for cleaning schools.

Enter Troy LaRaviere, now-former principal at Blaine Elementary and current blogger, who sees in his dismissal by CPS a nexus to his opposition of the mayor, and what he headlines, “Another Corrupt Emanuel Contract.”

He’s referring to a deal totaling $340 million with the Aramark and Sodexo Corporations to privatize the management of CPS custodians.

LaRaviere believes public school officials were monitoring his district email and, believing he was about to get inside information about controversial school cleaning contracts, began a campaign against him.

But CPS explained LaRaviere’s suspension to him by saying: “(Your reassignment is) based upon acts of misconduct that have occurred after your receipt of a Warning Resolution issued to you by the Board.”

That’s when no less than presidential candidate Bernie Sanders stepped in, saying in a statement that LaRaviere was “facing politically-motivated retaliation because he dared to stand up to the mayor of Chicago.”

Both the mayor’s office and the Board of Education insist Mayor Emanuel wasn’t involved in any of these decisions and that no campaign donations were swapped for city contracts.

LaRaviere says he plans to hold a news conference to elaborate on his allegations. But for now, tells us he won’t comment further.

Chicago Public Schools plans to hold a hearing next week to determine whether he should be suspended without pay.