Preferential Treatment Shown to Certain Businesses in Charter Construction in Ill.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Built in 2011 with $25 million from Illinois taxpayers, the curvy, stainless-steel structure that houses the UNO Soccer Academy Elementary Charter School leaps out from the neighboring landscape of boxy brick houses on the Southwest Side.

The school on South Homan Avenue isn’t just eye-catching. It has provided opportunities for working-class, Hispanic parents who want an alternative to crowded, poorly performing public schools for their children, says the head of the United Neighborhood Organization, the increasingly influential group that built and operates the school.

But the way it and other UNO schools were built also has provided a financial boon to people close to the group’s leaders, records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times show.

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