Weather Updates

UNO hires ex-judge to review charter-school spending

Updated: March 17, 2013 6:36PM

United Neighborhood Organization officials said Thursday they have hired former U.S. District Judge Wayne Andersen to conduct a review of how their charter-school network selected companies to build new schools with state grant money.

Andersen retired from the bench in 2010. He is best known for having appointed a monitor to review City Hall personnel practices in 2005, when federal authorities found evidence of widespread, illegal patronage in hiring and promotions.

“UNO has made it clear to me they want a best-in-class procurement process,” said Andersen, who is reporting his findings within 45 days.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported last week that contractors hired by the politically influential organization under the $98 million grant included two brothers of Miguel d’Escoto, who was group’s the No. 2-ranking official before he resigned Tuesday from his $200,000-a-year post.

Other contractors under the state school grant included the sister of UNO lobbyist Victor Reyes and the brothers of state Rep. Edward Acevedo (D-Chicago), a longtime UNO ally who voted to award the grant in 2009. Juan Rangel, UNO’s chief executive, has said the group followed the rules of the grant and broke no law with its insider dealings, but Ald. Danny Solis (25th) — a co-founder and former head of the organization — termed the deals “improper, at the very least.”

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.