CHICAGO (CN) – Two former North Chicago School District administrators received $800,000 in kickbacks in exchange for awarding $21 million in school bus contracts from 2001 to 2010, the U.S. Justice Department says.
The indictment charged Gloria Harper, a former school board member, and Alice Sherrod, former transportation director, with soliciting bribes from three bus service owners in exchange for steering district contracts to those companies.
The 26-count indictment also names the bus owners and contains charges of wire fraud, bribery, and tax fraud.
“Initially, Harper and Sherrod allegedly received kickbacks of approximately $4,000 to $5,000 a month but, by 2003, they were collecting approximately $20,000 a month,” the Department of Justice wrote.
The alleged scheme ran for almost a decade, with the most recent five-year contract awarded in 2009.
The Department of Justice seeks the forfeiture of $9.67 million, 48 buses, and seven cars as restitution. If convicted, the defendants can expect significant jail time as well as damages.
The bus company defendants are Derrick Eubanks, Tommie Boddie and Barrett White.