Facing the suspension of its state grant in the wake of a Chicago Sun-Times "Watchdogs" investigation, the politically influential United Neighborhood Organization announced new board members for UNO and its charter-school network Tuesday.
In a news conference at the UNO Soccer Academy Elementary Charter School, Martin Cabrera Jr., the founder and CEO of a Chicago investment bank, was presented as the new UNO board chairman. Cabrera is very familiar with the Hispanic community group--his firm, Cabrera Capital Markets LLC, did business with it as an underwriter for UNO's $37.5 million bond deal in 2011.
Juan Rangel, UNO's chief executive for 17 years, was a member of both the UNO and UNO Charter School Network boards, but Rangel said Tuesday he's stepping down from those positions. Still, Rangel has Cabrera's support to remain as the group's CEO, a post that has paid him $250,000 a year.
The only holdover from the old boards is Richard Rodriguez, the former Chicago Transit Authority president.
These are all the new board members of UNO:
• Joseph de Lopez, former Winnetka police superintendent and vice president of Vorhees Associates
• Freddy Santiago, pastor of Iglesia Rebano Church
• Peter Skerry, professor of political science at Boston College and non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution
• Rodolfo Benitez, UNO parent
• Mariana Chavez, UNO parent
These are all the board members of the UNO Charter School Network:
• Vincent Allocco, president and executive director of El Valor
• Rev. Chris Devron, president of Christ the King School
• Rodriguez, who now is vice president and business development director of Lend Lease
• Dr. Gilbert Munoz, medical director of the Chicago Fire pro soccer team
• Silverio Nodal, UNO parent
• Jenni Jimenez, UNO parent