Lacking business license, Flowers' new site closed
Thursday, November 12, 2009
by Duaa Eldeib
Just when Regional Schools Supt. Charles Flowers
should have been getting comfortable in his new space, officials have
Facing eviction for not paying $10,000 in back
rent on office space in Westchester, Flowers moved into a Broadview
building a little more than a week ago.
Tuesday, however, Broadview officials shuttered the Suburban Cook
County Regional Office of Education for a number of violations, village
attorney Phil Fornaro confirmed.
"It was closed down," he said.
In addition, sources close to the office said, employees - who
should have been paid Nov. 6 - have yet to receive their paychecks.
The closure is unrelated to a Cook County state's attorney's office
criminal investigation that resulted in a raid of the Westchester
office and Flowers' home, or a lawsuit alleging he engaged in a scheme
to defraud Cook County and avoid officials after defaulting on a
Instead, it's about paperwork.
"They didn't apply for a business license, which would require an
inspection," Fornaro said. "No certificate of occupancy was issued."
That process can take up to a month, Fornaro added.
"If you are going to operate a business in a town, you have to find out what that town requires," he said.
Earlier this week, the regional office's Web site indicated the
office would be closed on Wednesday in observance of Veterans Day. On
Wednesday, the site said that observance would continue through Friday.
It's a concern any time an office is closed, even temporarily, Illinois State Board of Education spokesman Matt Vanover said.
However, after the SouthtownStar first reported the alleged
financial and ethical misconduct at the office that is nearly $1
million in debt, neighboring regional offices have stepped in to pick
up the slack.
In July, ISBE began the process to revoke Flowers' professional
certificates, which would make him ineligible to serve. A hearing is
expected to take place either this month or next.
"We're taking the steps that we can," Vanover said. "He's an elected
official, much like a state representative or a mayor. ISBE doesn't
have the authority to go in and remove a mayor from office."