SUPES Academy co-owner sentenced to 7 years in CPS bribery scandal

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CHICAGO –  A federal judge sentenced Gary Solomon to seven years in prison on Friday.

U.S. District Judge Edmond Chang said the case involved a very serious crime, made worse by the face that it impacted education.

At the hearing, Solomon said he was very sorry for his actions and that he takes responsibility for them.

“I made a horrible decision, looking back I wish I could undo it,” Solomon said to Judge Chang.

Solomon is the former co-owner of SUPES Academy. A consulting firm involved in a bribery scandal with Chicago Public Schools.

SUPES employed Barbara Byrd-Bennett before she took her position as chief executive officer of CPS in 2012.

She resigned from CPS in June 2015 amid an investigation into a $20.5 million no-bid contract awarded by CPS to SUPES Academy.

Last year, Solomon admitted his role in the scheme to bribe Byrd-Bennett by offering her a percentage of the contracts she helped secure for SUPES. Solomon pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.

Prosecutors called Solomon the “mastermind” behind the bribery scandal. They asked the judge for nine years in prison.

The judge said he did not believe prosecutors claims that Solomon was the “mastermind.” Judge said he believed Solomon saw an opportunity and took it.

Solomon’s attorneys asked for 18 months. They argued he cooperated with prosecutors and showed remorse.

Byrd-Bennett’s sentencing is set for next month. Solomon’s co-owner, Thomas Vranas, is also set to be sentenced next month.