Despite gift-giving, CPS renews vendor contracts

May 22, 2012

Associated Press

Despite giving prohibited gifts to a Chicago Public Schools official, the district has renewed the contracts of its two largest food vendors.

The district announced Monday it is renewing the contracts of Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality and Preferred Meal Systems.

Schools spokeswoman Marielle Sainvilus says there wasn't enough time to solicit competitive bids to supply meals to the district.

District officials say the one-year contract for Chartwells should not exceed $68 million and for Preferred should not be more than $34 million. They say the final amounts haven't been determined.

In a March report, Inspector General James Sullivan accused the director of nutrition support services Louise Esaian, and two members of her staff, of accepting improper gifts, including Green Bay Packers tickets, from both vendors. Esaian resigned ahead of a disciplinary hearing.