Thursday, January 27, 2011

Are these documents the reason Gery Chico won't answer questions about the Save-A-Life Foundation?

Gery Chico accepts award from SALF founder/president Carol J. Spizzirri, reportedly a twice-convicted shoplifter who claimed non-existent medical credentials and a bogus college degree. (Source document here.)

At the end of last year, political writer Lee Cary asked Gery Chico a few non-confrontational questions about the Save-A-Life Foundation (SALF), the Chicago-area nonprofit reportedly under investigation by the IL Attorney General and, according to this letter, also by the feds.

Lee wanted to know what the man who wants to be Chicago's next mayor had to say about investigations of an organization with which Chico and his wife were affiliated. Click here and here for Lee's letters, in which he asked Chico these questions: 
1. Have you or has anyone you know been contacted by anyone connected with the Attorney General’s investigation of the Save-A-Life Foundation? If so, please provide details.

2. In federal reports, Save-A-Life claimed it had used a portion of $3.33 million it received from the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention to train thousands of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students. However, in response to a federal subpoena and FOIA requests, CPS apparently has no supporting records. Do you recommend that the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services initiate an investigation to determine if those federal millions were properly administered?

3. CPS paid Save-A-Life approximately $62,000 in public funds to provide first aid training to thousands of students, however CPS records indicate that at best a few hundred may have received training.  Do you recommend that CPS Inspector General James M. Sullivan initiate an investigation to determine if the $62,000 paid by CPS to Save-A-Life was properly administered?
Not exactly tough, in-your-face questions for a guy who's campaigning on a pledge to "bring more openness, transparency and accountability (to) city government." Nevertheless, despite multiple inquiries to his law firm and to his campaign office, Chico has not responded.

Since then, other documents have surfaced that may indicate why Chico seems to be playing dodge 'em. Yesterday, Lee sent Chico some new questions centering around those documents (inserted below).
From: Lee Cary <>
Subject: media inquiry
Date: Wednesday, January 26, 2011, 5:37 PM

Sent via e-mail and faxed to (312)463-1001

Gery Chico
Chico & Nunes, P.C.
333 West Wacker Drive Suite 1800
Chicago, IL 60606

Dear Mr. Chico,

I recently sent inquiries to you and to your associates Paul Vallas and Carlos Azcoitia PhD regarding your affiliations and promotion of the Save-A-Life Foundation (SALF), a Chicago-area nonprofit reportedly under investigation by the IL Attorney General's Charitable Trust Bureau.

Despite multiple attempts, to date I've only received a response from Dr. Azcoitia. If your lack of response was an oversight, I'd appreciate receiving your answers to the three questions I asked you. I'd also appreciate your answers to these questions:

1) According to SALF, you served as a member of their organization's Board of Directors. Is that accurate? If so, please provide details.
Click here for source document, 2002 SALF Annual Report

2) According to SALF, in a speech you presented at their organization's annual conference (at which your wife Sunny also appeared as a participant), you stated that you “will fight for the SALF programs and that their training is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.” Is this accurate?
Click here for source document, September 2003 SALF "Bridge the Gap" Conference

A SALF press release quoted your wife as saying, "My husband Gery was instrumental in bringing SALF to the Chicago Public Schools."
Click here for source document, April 24, 2003 SALF press release
3) Would you please ask your wife if she was accurately quoted and let me know what she says?

4) Do you consider the quote to be accurate or inaccurate? Please explain.

Thanks for your continued attention and I look forward to your reply. In the event I don't receive a reply from you in the next few days, I'll follow-up with Mrs. Chico.


Lee Cary
Little Elm, TX

Cc: Brooke Anderson, Gery Chico for Mayor

But wait, there's more. According to SALF, Chico (and Arne Duncan, now US Secretary of Education) helped draft the organization's 2002 "Pre-EMS White Paper":

Click here for source document (undated but file creation date is 12/26/02)

It's obvious that Chico is under no obligation to answer questions about his relationship with SALF and presumably he doesn't want to open the door to the subject by responding to inquiries from Lee Cary, a blogger from the Lone Star State.

But the Chicago mayoral derby has at least another month to play out. Will one of Chico's competitors or a MSM reporter raise the subject of his ties to an organization that may have ripped-off million$ from Illinois and US taxpayers?

The answer to that question is also obvious. It's up to them.
1/26/11 questions to Gery Chico re: whether he was a member of Save-A-Life Foundation corporate board; his ...