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The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, August 05, 1915, LAST EDITION, Image 3

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1915-08-05/ed-1/seq-3/

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SCHOOL COMMITTEE PROBES REALTY DEALS
MRS. YOUNG ALLEGES THREATS BY BISHOP
Ralph C. Otis, big business man,
school trustee, was today stumped
good and proper by the Baldwin sen
atorial committee investigating the
school muddle.
Three weeks ago the committee
asked Otis to tell it who sells the land
that is bought for school sites.
It is charged that a clique of real
estate men have had a strangle hold
on sales of school sites. It is said
that these real estate brokers learn
what sites the school board has de
cided it needs, then buys the land at
low cost and sells it to the city school
board at a stiff advance in price.
Ralph Otis is a real estate man. He
is also chairman of the buildings and
grounds committee of the school
bcjard, which has jurisdiction over
the purchase of school sites.
Just before Otis was recalled today
to give reasons why he had not pro
duced the desired information, the
committee forestalled any excuse gf
lack of time by calling Ralph Adams
of the Chicago Title and Trust Co. to
the stand. "'How long would it take
,you to find out who sold and who
'purchased a property," he was asked.
"About 15 minutes," was his reply.
Then Otis was ushered in.
Under fire, Otis admitted that as a
real estate man he would not have
needed three weeks to find out who
sold the school land sites. The com
mittee intimated it must have the in
formation by Saturday morning.
An attempt was made to show that
the $794'a year paid by the Teachers'
Pension Fund for legal advice was, a
waste because the board had a $10,-000-a-year
attorney last year in the
person of RicharVl S. Folsom, now
corporation counsel.
Sen. Geo. F. Harding came to the
defense of the teachers, saying the
$794 was paid from their own pockets
and pointing out that the Policemen's
Pension Fund had an allowance of
.$5,000 a year for attorney's fees,
It was indicated that the teachers
preferred the opinion of their $794-a-year
lawyer rather than that of the
$10,000-a-year Folsom.
The statement of Jos. Holpuch that
there was no inventory of school
property was denied by Trustee Chas.
S. Peterson, who said there was a
thorough and complete annual inven
tory. The commission talked for an hour
over the yearly sale of $5,000 worti
of junk but could not find five min
utes for a discussion of the millios
dollar school land leases.
The religious question played a
strong part in the latter part of yes
terday's session of the senate school
quiz. Parochial schools were termed
"crammers" which enabled Catholics
to prepare quickly for the normal or
teacher's school examinations.
Mrs. Ella Flagg Young, superin
tendent of the schools, asked permis-
Lsion to speak when Trustee Holpuch,
the witness, brought up the religious
question.
She told of an attempt to do away
with the cramming of the parochial
schools which had been met with a
threat from Bishop Muldoon and five
priests in a trip to her office.
Her plan, suggested to the board,
was that each school, public and pa
rochial, should be allowed to send a
certain number of candidates to the
normal school to take examinations
for jobs as teachers. A few days
later the bishop called at her office,
she said, and declared that if her plan
l.was adopted, the normal school
woufirne closed in three weeks.
The first day Holpuch was on the
stand, he told a long story knocking
Jhe Teachers' Federation. A teacher
had shaken a pupil and on being
"called" for this, had threatened to
the principal with the power of the
federation if she was prosecuted.
At that time, Holpuch did not know
the napje of tjie school, the teacher,
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