The scandal involving the UNO charter school hustlers has Wall Street investors worrying. Today's Sun-Times reports:
Now under investigation by two state agencies, the United Neighborhood Organization is also facing tough questions on Wall Street from investors who lent tens of millions of dollars to help pay for the rapid expansion of UNO’s charter-school network. The questions were prompted by Chicago Sun-Times reports on $8.5 million in state grant funds paid to companies owned by two brothers of Miguel d’Escoto, a top UNO executive.As the largest charter-school operator in Illinois, the United Neighborhood Organization depends largely on City Hall and Springfield. It also borrows money — from banks and on Wall Street — to pay its bills.
Steven Levy, an executive with Prudential Financial in Newark, N.J., has been all over UNO boss Juan Rangel about the d’Escoto brothers’ deals. Levy says he's worried about the teachers union being able to exploit UNO corruption to kill millions in state grant money to pay for the group's real estate deals. Investors are losing confidence in the group's ability to pay back millions in loans.
“From what I understand, they are able to pay debt service — certainly in the near term, in the next year or two,” says Carlotta Mills of Standard & Poors. “Right now, I want to see if they are able to get the money from the state.”
Machine pols like Ald. Eddie Burke and Mayor Emanuel are putting the screws on Gov. Quinn in order to get him to turn the money spigot back on again to keep the Wall Streeters happy.
I'm pretty sure he will. When Wall St. speaks, Chicago politicians listen.