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  • Sun-Times takes top honors in 2 news contests

    Chicago Sun-Times staffers have taken top honors in two statewide journalism competitions.

  • Chicago police sergeant says ‘I feel terrible’ about woman’s death involving his gun

    A Chicago police sergeant facing a suspension or firing testified Friday he feels “terrible” about the death of a Northwest Side woman he said used his gun to shoot herself in the head while he was in her bathroom. “I feel terrible for my mistake,” Sgt. Steven Lesner told a Chicago Police Board hearing officer reviewing his conduct regarding the 2009 death of Catherine Weiland. “I feel terrible that her life was ended.”

  • 28 percent of IHSA staff getting $110,000-plus in salary, benefits

    THE WATCHDOGS: More than one of every four employees of the Illinois High School Association — the governing body for high school sports in Illinois — gets more than $110,000 a year in pay and benefits, according to Internal Revenue Service records. It’s an issue that’s expected to come up as state legislators convene a hearing Tuesday in Springfield on how the IHSA is run.

  • UNO charter schools paid fired teacher $150K to settle case, records show

    THE WATCHDOGS: The taxpayer-funded charter-school network run by the clout-heavy United Neighborhood Organization paid a fired physical education teacher $150,000 to settle a lawsuit that claimed he was wrongly fired for reporting the assault of a student at UNO’s Major Hector P. Garcia M.D. High School on Chicago’s Southwest Side, records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times show.

  • Daley testimony on hold

    Because of delays, it will be at least two months before former Mayor Richard M. Daley testifies in Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s court fight to break an exclusive deal that clout-heavy investors got under the Daley administration to operate a restaurant on Michigan Avenue in Millennium Park.

    Clout-heavy contractor to pay $12 million in fraud settlement

    A clout-heavy Chicago construction company has agreed to pay $12 million in fines to resolve a case involving alleged fraud on government programs intended to benefit women and minority-owned subcontractors, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

    Former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s law firm losing its City Hall grip under Emanuel

    THE WATCHDOGS: Under former Mayor Richard M. Daley, City Hall paid millions of dollars in legal fees to Katten Muchin Rosenman, the law firm where Daley now works. The firm has seen its City Hall business fall sharply under Daley’s successor, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, records show.

    Lights, cameras but no action on video in Cook County courtrooms

    THE WATCHDOGS: It’s been more than two years since Cook County Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans asked the Illinois Supreme Court to allow cameras in Cook County courtrooms, but the state’s high court has indefinitely put off a decision, even as it’s approved all of the other requests it’s gotten for video and audio recording in courts across the state, including DuPage County’s courts.

    17 months in prison for businessman in Daley kin sewer scam: Watchdogs

    A former Mississippi sharecropper who landed millions of dollars in contracts from the city of Chicago was sentenced Thursday to 17 months in prison for his role in a minority-contracting scandal that involved sewer deals held by a company whose investors secretly included then-Mayor Richard M. Daley’s son and nephew.

    DCFS chief Arthur Bishop steps down after Sun-Times, WBEZ reports

    Arthur D. Bishop, who was appointed last month to run the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, stepped down Wednesday following a series of Chicago Sun-Times and WBEZ reports that revealed a theft conviction and paternity case in his past.

    New DCFS boss pleaded guilty to stealing from social service agency’s clients

    THE WATCHDOGS: Gov. Pat Quinn’s new director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services pleaded guilty to stealing from clients of a West Side social service agency and later became embroiled in a child-support battle over a daughter he said he never knew he’d fathered, the Chicago Sun-Times and WBEZ have found.

    Inside Bruce Rauner’s charter schools

    THE WATCHDOGS: On TV, Bruce Rauner boasts in a campaign commercial that he “helped start charter schools” to fight failing educational programs. Other than giving millions of dollars, though, the Republican candidate for governor doesn’t have much to do with running the Noble Network of Charter Schools, its superintendent says.

    Under Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago has slowed spending on public art

    THE WATCHDOGS: Since 1978, the city of Chicago has required that at least 1 percent of the construction budget for any new or renovated city building has to be set aside for installing works of art in publicly accessible places on project sites. But spending on City Hall’s pioneering “Percent for Art” program has slowed dramatically since Mayor Rahm Emanuel took office in 2011, records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times show.

    Police board rejects deal to suspend Chicago cop 60 days in woman’s death

    THE WATCHDOGS: In an unusual move, the Chicago Police Board has rejected a proposed deal under which a police sergeant had agreed to be suspended for 60 days because his gun was used in the shooting death of a Northwest Side woman four years ago. The police board scrapped the deal that police Supt. Garry McCarthy had struck with Sgt. Steven Lesner, instead ordering a full inquiry into the events that led to Catherine Weiland’s death.

    GOP candidate Bruce Rauner’s money helped UNO pay bills

    Bruce Rauner’s family charity has contributed $800,000 to the scandal-tarred United Neighborhood Organization in recent years. “It sounds like there has been some potentially bad behavior and some money not spent appropriately, which is very troubling to me,” Rauner says.

    Rauner’s charter school takeover

    Sarah Howard thought Bruce Rauner was an angel who would rescue her financially troubled, academically struggling charter school in East Garfield Park. Instead, the would-be Republican candidate for Illinois governor took control of the Academy of Communications and Technology Charter School Howard started, dumping her as executive director, suspending operations for two years, then turning it over to a national charter school operator.

    Booted out of boot camp: Judges resentence 4 violent criminals to prison

    A WATCHDOGS FOLLOW-UP: Judges in Cook County have begun revoking inmates’ sentences to boot camp and resentencing them instead to prison in response to a Chicago Sun-Times investigation that revealed hundreds of violent offenders were improperly sentenced to the program.