A former high-ranking employee at Chicago Public Schools was fired for reporting collusion among bus contractors, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday.
Jeffrey Hubert, the former CPS director of operations, alleges in the suit that several school bus contractors colluded to inflate their bid prices “by millions of dollars” and would bill CPS for bus trips “that never took place.”
Despite him reporting the collusion to the CPS inspector general, the FBI and the U.S. departments of Education and Justice, CPS took no action other than firing him, the suit stated.
Hubert also alleges that “the vendors violated their contracts because the buses had only a 60 percent on-time performance and the bus drivers did not follow contractually required security procedures.”
The suit goes on to state that Hubert found a “substantial number of ‘ghost riders’” — students who were counted as riding the bus but who actually did not. Additionally, the suit stated, Hubert found that CPS knew school bus vendors were “purposely disabling” the GPS and video camera systems on buses.
Hubert alleges that his bosses within CPS “blocked” his attempts to end the collusion.
CPS did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday evening.
Hubert’s two-count suit alleges retaliatory discharge and a violation of the Illinois Whistleblower Act. He is seeking more than $100,000 in damages and his reinstatement at CPS.