Chicago developer/Olympics bid pusher found dead; Update: Three prominent Windy City politico suicides in two years
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Michael Scott’s name came up several times during the Obama-lympics 2016 debacle. He was one of many Chicago cronies who stood to gain from the bid.
The local papers in Chicago sniffed out his conflicts of interest as an Olympics committee member who was also involved in trying to develop a for-profit real estate project that would sit within feet of the cycling venue if Chicago won the games.
Scott also served as the Chicago School Board president and used his position to urge principals to push the failed Olympics bid.
Scott was in hot water with the feds over an education corruption scandal and had been issued a subpoena:
…federal prosecutors issued a subpoena in late July to Chicago Public School Board President Michael Scott as part of an investigation to determine whether principals at the city’s nine highly-competitive high schools improperly selected students based on clout rather than academic achievement. Prosecutors are seeking all correspondence related to applicants who applied and were accepted, plus all related material including test scores and recommendations.
City school officials would not comment, nor would Justice Department officials in Chicago.
Simpson says the findings will be of high interest to Chicago parents because of the intense competition that takes place each year to get into the best schools.
“If it’s a rigged system then … it means their child was denied the right to go to a good school. It really matters to them,” he says.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports today that Scott’s body was found near the Chicago River early this morning:
Chicago School Board President Michael Scott had a gunshot wound to the left temple when authorities found his body in the Chicago River near the Merchandise Mart early this morning, sources said.
An autopsy will be performed later today to rule how Scott, 60, died. He was reported missing from his home in the Monroe police district on the Near West Side in Chicago Sunday, sources said.
His car — a blue Cadillac — was found parked near the river where the body was found, police said. It was towed from the scene.
Fire crews arrived about 3:20 a.m. to recover the body just west of the Apparel Center at 350 N. Orleans St., home of the Chicago Sun-Times.
A Chicago Public Schools spokeswoman did not return calls for comment.
The Sun-Times hints at even bigger troubles for Scott:
West Side Ald. Isaac Carothers (29th) praised Scott on Monday, saying “he was a great individual who added value to every position he served” in city government.
Carothers — who was indicted in May for allegedly accepting $40,000 in home improvements, meals and sports tickets from a West Side developer in exchange for zoning changes that netted the developer millions — spent a year secretly recording public officials and real estate developers for the feds, the Sun-Times disclosed earlier this year.
On Monday, Carothers cut off a conversation with a reporter when asked whether he had recorded any conversations with Scott.
He would only say, “He was just a great friend and a great individual. My heart goes out to his family. It’s just a tragedy.”
Carothers said he has known Scott for “15-to-20 years, at least.”
“He was a great negotiator, a great facilitator,” the alderman said.
Pressed further about any business dealings he might have had with Scott, Carothers said, “All I have is what I gave you.” He then hung up the phone.
It’s a sad, grim reminder of how deep and self-destructive the culture of corruption runs in the Chicago political bloodstream.
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Michael Scott’s suicide marks the third suicide among prominent public officials in the last two years — and each of the men were being investigated by authorities or already convicted of wrongdoing.
Scott, former Balgojevich aide Chris Kelly and former Stroger aide Orlando Jones all died by their own hand.
Scott, who was found with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound Monday morning, was a mover and shaker in Chicago politics and a prominent member of the African-American community here.
Earlier this year, Scott was scrutinized over Olympics-related real estate dealings.
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