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Chicago Public Schools Bribery Mastermind Sentenced To 7 Years

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A bribery scandal that rocked Chicago Public Schools has led to a seven-year sentence for the so-called mastermind.

CBS 2's Roseanne Tellez reports.

Prosecutors said Gary Solomon pocketed more than $5 million at the expense of school kids. He said nothing after receiving his seven-year prison sentence, but apologized to CPS, teachers and students in court.

Solomon SUPES Academy won a lucrative $20.5 million no-bid contract from CPS to train principals after admitted to bribing Schools CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett.

Lawrence Msall of the Civic Federation said the beleaguered Chicago public school district has now become a punching bag.

"And now we have yet another reminder that some of the people in the district weren't looking out for the interests of the kids or the schools that were lining their own pockets. It's a sad day for Chicago," he said.

Solomon's attorneys wanted an 18-month sentence for their client. They argued he had accepted responsibility, expressed remorse and cooperated. Lawyers also argued "public humiliation" and "financial loss" were punishment enough.

RELATEDMastermind Behind Massive CPS Kickback Scheme To Be Sentenced

The government wanted 9 years Solomon. It said his choice was "not a one-time bad decision" but a "corrupt scheme" that would have continued had he not been caught.

The judge in the case called Solomon's actions the worst kind of public corruption because it involved education. Former CPS CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett and Solomon's business partner Thomas Vranas will be sentence for their roles in the scheme on April 28.

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