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School leader’s death shocks Chicago

Associated Press / November 17, 2009

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CHICAGO - Chicago’s school board president apparently shot himself in the head near the Chicago River before dawn yesterday, officials said as his death was met with disbelief by civic leaders and US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

Michael Scott, president of the Chicago Board of Education, said in August that he had been subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury investigating allegations of politically influenced admissions to top schools, but authorities did not immediately make any connection between the case and his death.

“It is simply too early for us to draw any conclusions,’’ Police Superintendent Jody Weis said.

Police said Scott’s body and a .380-caliber handgun were found on an embankment near a riverside loading dock about 3:15 a.m. after his car was discovered nearby. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the death a suicide.

Scott, 60, was last seen around 6:30 p.m. Sunday and Weis said Scott’s wife called it unusual for him not to return home before midnight.

Scott also drew questions last summer about his service on the Chicago 2016 Olympic Committee when he disclosed involvement with a group developing city-owned vacant lots near the site of a proposed venue. Scott, who owned a real estate development company, broke ties with the group. City bid officials said Scott should have disclosed his involvement earlier, while saying he wasn’t profiting from the deal.

Duncan, CEO of Chicago public schools before joining President Obama’s Cabinet, said Chicago “has lost a great leader.’’