Top Chicago Public Schools Official Charged With Lying To The FBI

Pedro Soto, who served as chief of staff to CPS CEO Janice Jackson, resigned on Friday.

CPS
WBEZ
CPS
WBEZ

Top Chicago Public Schools Official Charged With Lying To The FBI

Pedro Soto, who served as chief of staff to CPS CEO Janice Jackson, resigned on Friday.

A longtime employee of Chicago Public Schools, who rose to become chief of staff for the current head of the school district, was charged Thursday with lying to the FBI.

School district officials said they were informed on Friday that Pedro Soto was being charged; his resignation was accepted immediately that day. Officials also say they have asked the CPS inspector general to do an internal review to see if Soto’s actions influenced any CPS decisions. So far, officials say they do not think so.

The charge centers around a custodial contract that could have been worth $1 billion that Pedro Soto was involved in awarding. At the time, he was chief of school operations, and he was part of the evaluation committee.

According to the criminal information filing, Soto allegedly provided nonpublic information to an individual connected to a company that was bidding on the contract. On Dec. 17, 2019, the FBI questioned Soto about what information he gave to the individual and whether he expected anything in return.

While Soto admitted talking to the individual, who was digging around for information, he allegedly told the FBI that “I don’t think I gave him anything,” according to the criminal information filing.

The lying charge stemmed from that conversation.

Documents obtained through FOIA show Soto has been employed by Chicago Public Schools since at least 2010, when he went from a project manager making $78,000 a year. In 2016, when the incident took place, he was chief of school operations making $160,000.

His salary as chief of staff to Janice Jackson was $175,000.

Sarah Karp is a reporter for WBEZ. You can follow her on Twitter @WBEZeducation and @sskedreporter.