Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Who's Minding the Store?

  • In another sign that Chicago Public Schools isn’t keeping good enough track of transit fare cards that are supposed to be distributed to homeless students, a Chicago man was recently arrested for allegedly hawking L and bus passes that were swiped from the school system.

    Mohammed Abdullah, 24, was arrested on Oct. 15 and charged with theft of more than $500 and less than $10,000, according to court records. He sold paper CTA Ventra cards intended for homeless students to customers who turned out to be undercover police officers, the records show.

    When police searched Abdullah’s place of employment – a convenience store at 79th and Saginaw – they found 300 cards, authorities said. The cards contain cash value, and when they’re tapped at L turnstiles and bus fareboxes, the fare amounts are deducted.

    How Abdullah ended up with the cards isn’t clear. But they were stolen from CPS and he was selling them for less than their actual value, officials said. A CPS spokeswoman released a written statement indicating a CPS employee had been fired in connection with the incident, and that CPS handed out about 1.9 million two-ride cards to homeless kids last year.

    Amber Damerow, a former CPS official who oversaw the school system’s program for homeless kids until resigning last year, called the management of the CTA cards at CPS “a hot mess.”
But hey, let's let the schools raise property taxes to their limit for the.....how many straight years has it been now? We can trust them with the money!

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28 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where the heck are those homeless kids going that they need bus cards...Home?

11/10/2015 12:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait 1.9 million cards? Theres what 2.7 million people in Chicago, right? How many homeless kids are there?

11/10/2015 12:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's do some math here: 1.9 million cards for approximately 190 days of school equals ten thousand. I highly doubt there are 10,000 homeless CPS students. Bet that 9 year old's mother was getting her share of those ventra cards. Sickening.

11/10/2015 12:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those tax $$ are for the children. Be happy.

11/10/2015 12:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a joke. 7yr olds manage their lemonade stand businesses with more efficiency.

11/10/2015 01:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why are you complaining, every Chicago student graduates knowing how to read and write...

OK, Most of them graduate...

Some of them graduate???

And they can sometimes read and write. Many of them can even add and subtract too!

11/10/2015 01:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did they miss the stack of LINK cards next to them?

11/10/2015 01:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CPS said someone was fired over it? WHO? Give us the name and then explain to the taxpayers why he wasn't prosecuted for theft. This sounds like thousands, maybe tens of thousands of dollars. It's a felony. How did it go unnoticed?

Is theft rampant in CPS. It sounds like it from this article, and if there is no penalty, no prosecution, then no wonder theft is out of control in the Chicago Public School system.

11/10/2015 05:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Despite the "budget crisis," the food flows like wine in the CPS high school where I teach. I know it's probably federally funded, but still. We feed them breakfast, lunch and an after school snack. Breakfast is neatly packaged in bags so nobody has to get to school early to eat - students eat during 1st period class. The Ventra cards flow like wine also, in addition to the eyeglasses and the visits to the medical clinic. And the college visits. And the free ACT tests (3 times for free). And the free AP exams. And no textbook fees. Parents basically have to provide some dinner (maybe) and make sure kids get out of the door on time in the morning (which about 50% don't do).

11/10/2015 06:00:00 AM  
Anonymous 11th Dist King said...

OMG, SMH, WTF, WTH, will it ever end?

Oh and dont get me started with the arab who owns a convenience store on the south side who is in possession of stolen merchandise. Just great, sanctuary shitcago.

11/10/2015 06:04:00 AM  
Blogger Mr. SouthSide said...

Our Arab friend must have had a good friend in CPS. Want coffee? Want pop?

11/10/2015 06:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whelp,

gotta make a living somehow. Rahm and his crew are not creating any jobs.

11/10/2015 07:14:00 AM  
Anonymous retired guy said...

Sorry, but I don't compute the 1.9 million card figure...do they get a card a day??? how many actual homeless kids attend CPS?

11/10/2015 08:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! So it was a real mohammed, instead of a prison convert? The convenience store is the major clue. Crime centers.

11/10/2015 09:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How did I not know that (my tax $) go towards homeless kids going to school so that the "parents" have further incentive not to work?

I hate this town sometimes.

--No Cop Here

11/10/2015 09:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"When police searched Abdullah’s place of employment – a convenience store at 79th and Saginaw – they found 300 cards..."

Send Health and Rat and Cat and Gas and Electric and Building Inspectors in there, and the place will probably be dark tomorrow, the front door glommed shut with non-removable "VIOLATION" city stickers in all the colors of the rainbow -- week-old expired milk, spoiled meat, toothpaste and Tide with the Walgreens and CVS tags still on, outlets going "BZZT," and things running away along the rotting baseboards, glimpsed in the corner of your eye...one joint had a big glass pickle jar full of Vicodin or something behind the counter @$8.00 each. Watch for the back room absolutely packed to the ceiling with unsalable inventory, cases and cases of plastic toys and flea-market junk from China. Stuff from their cousin's failed store, and it means there'll be a fire soon. "We have lost everything! Everything!"

*

Last place like this I pointed at turned into a muffler shop not long after...

11/10/2015 10:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh.

If you suspect Medicaid or Welfare fraud (including Link Card, Illinois’ SNAP/Food Stamp program), please complete and submit the form below

http://www.illinois.gov/hfs/oig/Pages/ReportFraud.aspx

or call the Medicaid/Welfare Fraud Hotline at 1-844-453-7283/1-844-ILFRAUD.

They DO go after these.

Prosecutors: 3,000 LINK cards used to buy 'massive amounts' of candy, energy drinks

"A southwest suburban man used more than 3,000 LINK cards to steal almost $1 million in government funds, purchasing "massive amounts of energy drinks and candy" and selling them to West Side stores, officials said.

"Wael S. Ghosheh, 46, has been charged with theft of government property, identity theft, money laundering, unauthorized use of food stamp benefits and wire fraud, all of which are felonies, records show.

"Ghosheh, of the 5500 block of West 84th Street in southwest suburban Burbank, is in Cook County Jail after appearances Wednesday and Thursday at the Leighton Criminal Court Building, during which bail was set at $50,000, records show.

"In January 2014, Ghosheh drew the attention of a loss prevention team for a major membership-only retail warehouse club for using multiple Illinois LINK cards to make large-volume purchases of energy drinks and candy, according to a prosecution filing...

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-link-card-million-dollar-scam20150313-story.html

It is only about 1% of legitimate LINK recipients involved, but the "card-busting" can add up...

11/10/2015 11:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"follow the money"---Deep Throat ("All The Prssident's Men" )

11/10/2015 12:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Homeless kids ought to just simply live on the block or in the alley outside the school. No need for a Ventra card then.

11/10/2015 01:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Time for Rahm to personally appoint a THIRD corrupt CPS CEO. That should it.

11/10/2015 01:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The parents fill out a form that lists the children as homeless to get the free Ventra cards. On the personal information pages of SIMS/IMPACT for CPS, they all have addresses.Just another handout, is all.

11/10/2015 02:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only thing that I would trust about the Chicago Public Schools System, as well as County Government is a complete job audit down by an outside firm. Every job, every employee, look at every job description, what they do and make sure the employee is doing what the description indicates. Then make sure that job is actually needed and does not pay more in pay and benefits then the private sector. Stop job padding and patronage and you just might hold the line on taxes. When you are a government employee and you make twice what private sector employees earn you have a valuable commodity that is valuable to the political class.

11/10/2015 06:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who's minding the store? The school clerks that who.

Great article on these CTA transit cards and the poor way CPS accounts for them. There's no reason this nonsense should be going on at all. If you look into most of the money unaccounted for, stolen. or embezzled by CPS employees, most often it involved the school clerk, tech coordinator, or finance/business manager. This was the case at these high schools: Simeon, Lake View, Gage Park, and Clark. (I provided links, they're all the way at the bottom).

In the CTA transit card case, the cards are given out students by school clerks and they're far from being underpaid as a Clerk 1's salary ranges from $50K-$65K.

If the clerks are taking the cards, giving them to people like Mohammed Abdullah, and splitting the money off them, then they should be put in jail

FYI: The days of the little old lady with a hair net and orthopedic shoes is long gone from CPS. These clerk positions are highly sought after and most are obtained through political connections, especially the Clerk 1 position which only requires a HS diploma or GED equivalency along with 1-yr. of prior clerical experience and the ability to type 45 wpm (with only 11 mistake).

I have no problem with a CPS employee climbing the salary step ladder and making decent money after a decade or so. But, there's Clerk 1's with 5-6 years experience making $50K +$25K in benefits and many make more money then some teachers do.

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2006-02-28/news/0602280130_1_simeon-schools-chief-arne-duncan-checks


http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-cps-theft-charges-met-0514-20150513-story.html


http://www.wbez.org/news/still-more-questions-case-deceased-cps-worker-who-stole-school-funds-109515


http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-01-03/news/chi-cps-employee-nets-420k-in-fake-vendor-scheme-before-discovered-dead-in-mexico-20140103_1_school-principal-cps-employees-assistant-principal-position





http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/05/chicago-schools-investiga_n_1186301.html

11/10/2015 07:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Disgusting. Total taxpayer funded life. why work at all?...


Despite the "budget crisis," the food flows like wine in the CPS high school where I teach. I know it's probably federally funded, but still. We feed them breakfast, lunch and an after school snack. Breakfast is neatly packaged in bags so nobody has to get to school early to eat - students eat during 1st period class. The Ventra cards flow like wine also, in addition to the eyeglasses and the visits to the medical clinic. And the college visits. And the free ACT tests (3 times for free). And the free AP exams. And no textbook fees. Parents basically have to provide some dinner (maybe) and make sure kids get out of the door on time in the morning ....

11/10/2015 08:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Slice off the south and west sides, and we could hav a hell of a city.

11/10/2015 09:14:00 PM  
Anonymous The Neanderthal said...

"FYI: The days of the little old lady [clerk] with a hair net and orthopedic shoes is long gone from CPS."

11/10/2015 07:04:00 PM

Still remember her name. Real stern, but fair. I liked her. Also a Two-Gun-Pete-style half-crazy principal who WOULD hurt a kid with her God-damned sharp, red-lacquered fingernails. Also the monstrous, horrible, insulting, no-business-working-with-children-at-all spinster-teachers, just a couple of them burning down towards their retirement but you remember them for life too.

So you're all dead now. Have a good one. I lived, as did all the rest of us...and we NEVER saw a policeman in the school, K-through-8. Might have had something to do with it...no flowers, ribbons, candles, liquor bottles all through the neighborhood, no [red at the time] Mars lights all the time, no crowds coming down off the porches motherf__ing the police...no "Safe Passages," no three meals a day, no A/C, just readin', writin', etc.

Had many more super gals for teachers, too, and still remember them fondly. Really great. See an ability, encourage it, cut some slack so you could do it...

We had order and discipline. We could spell and count when we came out of there, too.

Oh. ONE school janitor -- and the place was spotless. Nice older guy, always looked out for us when we got near his boiler-territory in the basement doing "Duck-And-Cover." No one ever got hurt.

Something to be said for it...pretty good deal, overall. Just, uh, normal?

11/11/2015 01:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The media should do a little homework on this scam.

The school receives packs of these cards which is usable by the student PARENTs!
The homeless parent then can ride with the youth across the city FREE of charge.

CPS cannot force anyone to give an address because the homeless have rights. No tax forms,letter from a shelter NOTHING. So Ghetto parents game the system and put their kids in great school in area they don't live.

By the way those card were never reported stolen by the school yet nobody at CPS inspector general is even looking into it. Another Clouted unit of goverment doing nothing but generating paper.

11/11/2015 07:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the way those card were never reported stolen by the school yet nobody at CPS inspector general is even looking into it. Another Clouted unit of goverment doing nothing but generating paper.

11/11/2015 07:02:00 AM

The reason CPS isn't looking into the stolen cards is because they believe no money is being lost out of their account or not enough money is being stolen to warrant paying to investigate the loss. Yet, people like Mohammed are selling these cards for real money and making a profit.

11/11/2015 01:46:00 PM  

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