Chicago: Why UNO Charters Fought Public Audits

Diane Ravitch's blog

The Chicago Sun-Times reported the results of its battle to gain access to the financial records of the UNO charter chain. UNO fought to keep its records secret, claiming they were a “private” organization. What the newspaper discovered when it won was a spending spree on the taxpayers’ dime–er, make that hundreds of millions.

The CEO of UNO, Juan Rangel, was politically powerful: he served as co-chair of Rahm Emanuel’s first mayoral campaign. Rangel got a grant of $98 million from the state to build more charter schools. He was compelled to resign when news broke that millions in contracts from the state grant were awarded to allies of Rangel.

But the new revelations show a pattern of profligate spending by the organization. It also shows how charters used taxpayer money to buy political favors.

Dan Mihalapoulos writes:

“Even as they ran a network of charter schools for thousands of…

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