I-Team

Scott's personal, public life clashed in recent months

Tuesday, November 17, 2009
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The past few months, Michael Scott found himself answering questions from the media and a federal grand jury about his role as school board president.

Scott was also in the spotlight for his roles as an Olympic committee member and real estate developer.

When you operate in the high-level political and business arenas as Michael Scott did, questions about your conduct are part of the game.

Scott served four Chicago mayors in several city departments, ran the park district and the schools, was on the 2016 Olympic committee, and operated his own real estate development firm. In the past six months, some of those positions clashed.

"He's very good. I have confidence in him," Mayor Daley said in February 24, 2009, as he brought Scott back into his service as school board president.

At that time, neither man could have known what they were going to face in coming months, including disclosures that Scott was involved in land development deals near venues that would have been used during the 2016 Chicago Summer Olympic Games and criticism that was a conflict of interest because Scott was a key 2016 Olympic committee member. He denied that there would be a personal windfall.

"The only involvement I have is one of commitment to a community where I was raised and worked to improve for the last 30 years," Scott said on August 8, 2009.

Last summer, Scott announced that he had been subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury at the Dirksen Building listening to evidence of illegal admission practices at certain Chicago high schools.

At the time Scott told reporters that he was surprised by the federal subpoena and denied that he had ever clouted connected students into the city's elite schools. "I followed all procedures," said Scott.

While leaving the home of Scott's widow on Monday, Mayor Daley was asked whether his school board president was concerned about the grand jury investigation of admission practices.

"That didn't bother him, because I talked to him about it...It didn't bother him what so all, that scrutiny," said Mayor Daley.

Some of Scott's closest friends tell ABC7 that the scrutiny he faced didn't seem serious enough for him to take his own life or become the target of someone else. Even though the 380 caliber handgun was found under his body, police say they are examining Scott's background and recent behavior for clues.

"There are a lot of open-ended questions that we have to track down through the various investigative techniques," said Supt. Jody Weis, Chicago Police Dept.

There were reports that Scott had an appointment Monday with law enforcement. Superintendant Weis said that it was not with Chicago police. A spokesman for U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald declined to comment.

(Copyright ©2014 WLS-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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