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Another figure in CPS corruption case set to plead guilty

Thomas Vranas in October 2015 | Ashlee Rezin/For the Sun-Times

One of the co-owners of the principal training business that received nearly $23 million in no-bid contracts from Chicago Public Schools in deals that cost the CEO her job — and potentially her freedom — has indicated he plans to plead guilty in a federal criminal case.

Thomas Vranas, 35, is expected to change his plea to guilty to a conspiracy charge at a hearing on April 12, his attorney, Michael Monico, said. Vranas faces a maximum of five years in prison.

His co-defendant, Gary Solomon, 47, has pleaded not guilty to more than a dozen criminal charges stemming from the alleged steering of contracts to The SUPES Academy and Synesi Associates by disgraced former schools chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett in exchange for kickbacks.

Forced out of CPS last spring, Byrd-Bennett pleaded guilty to a single count of wire fraud in October. In exchange for her continued cooperation, prosecutors offered a recommended reduced prison sentence of 7 ½ years for Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s handpicked CEO. Her sentence will be determined once the other cases are resolved.

Solomon’s attorney would only confirm, as he has already told the judge, that plea-related discussions with prosecutors are ongoing.

Meanwhile, CPS has sued all three to try to recoup $65 million in restitution and damages the district claims it’s entitled to as a result of fraud.