10/04/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

State To School: Give Us Back $1 Million

A private school that mistakenly was awarded a $1 million grant by Gov. Blagojevich's administration is being banned from opening its doors to students because of a wave of building code violations, Chicago buildings officials said today.

The state also announced it is poised to recover the money awarded to Loop Lab School, which was the recipient of a grant originally intended for a fire-ravaged South Side church.

The state's Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity "intends to recover the full grant amount," said Lucio Guerrero, a spokesman for Gov. Blagojevich. The school, Guerrero said, has until Friday to resolve several problems the department has found with the grant. If those aren't resolved, "DCEO will proceed to formal grant recovery."

The city and state actions follow a Chicago Sun-Times report in March about how the school inexplicably got money the governor had pledged for the rebuilding of Pilgrim Baptist Church, which was destroyed by fire in 2006.

Blagojevich at that time pledged $1 million to help the church rebuild. But the $1 million awarded for that purpose in March 2007 instead went to the school, which had been leasing space from Pilgrim Baptist but otherwise has no church affiliation.

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