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A Credit to Our Schools

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It's been two years, and I still haven't gotten a thank-you note from Rufus Williams for helping to cover the $640 dinner tab he rang up at Table 52 on the Gold Coast back in January 2009.

Who knows? Maybe the former president of the Chicago Board of Education forgot about me. Or maybe he's still working on the note to thank me for pitching in for the food and booze -- $6,000 worth -- that he and his pals enjoyed in a Soldier Field skybox on September 6, 2008.

Of course, Rufus being Rufus, he probably finished writing and addressing my thank-you notes and then accidentally left them on the desk in that $979/night New York City hotel room that I helped him pay for.

On the other hand, maybe Rufus just decided to stiff me. Come to think of it, I never did get invited to those holiday bashes at his house back in 2006, 2007, and 2008. But being the sport I am, I still ended up kicking in my share of Rufus's $12,000 tab for those events.

Call me a fool, but I guess I have a soft spot in my heart for the folks that Mayor Daley picks to head the Board of Education. Why else would I have coughed up cash for Michael Scott's Olympic junket to Copenhagen in 2009?

And let's not forget about my generous contributions to all those charitable organizations that listed Michael or one of his family members as directors. That was just my way of trying to improve our city's schools while making life a little more comfortable for Mayor Daley's guys.

But not everyone understands how things work in this town. Just yesterday, another member of Chicago's "Inspector General Brigade" decided to grab fifteen minutes of fame by suggesting that the mayor's men used their Board of Ed credit cards for "extravagant" purchases that demonstrated "a lack of judgment and fiscal responsibility."

Luckily, this is still Daley's Chicago. And in this town, Inspector Gadget commands more respect than any Inspector General ever will.

The way I figure, if Mayor Daley isn't going to get worked up about these charges, I'm not going to either. And I've yet to hear Rahm Emanuel, Gery Chico, or Carol Moseley Braun suggest that Mayor Daley's guys were playing fast and loose with Board of Ed plastic.

And let's also remember that Rufus cut his teeth as a CPA with Arthur Andersen. So when he told the Chicago Tribune that his "credit card use was fully proper," and insisted that each of his charges "related to our children and to our schools," what's not to believe?

If Rufus said taxpayers spent $6,000 for food and booze at Soldier Field so that he and his friends could discuss our schools, who are we to question him? After all, it's doubtful that we'll ever know what they actually talked about, because Board of Ed presidents generally have the skybox swept for listening devices right before kickoff.

The Board of Ed credit card. Don't leave home without it.