Nick Alioto is the current Vice-President of Business and Finance at Southwestern College, and the guy calling the shots now that Raj K. Chopra is "on vacation." Just a couple of years ago, a chap named Nick Alioto made a lot of news in Wisconsin for some business dealings with the Racine Unified School District.
Were they the same people? This question came up in the comments on my recent ACLU piece. It interested me, and I did a little digging. I posted my thoughts in comments, but decided they were worth putting here instead. (I've modified my own answer in a few places to better suit the format.)
I don't think that they can be the same person. Wisconsin's Nick Alioto was a financial genius able to save Racine USD somewhere between $15 and $18 million dollars in the first six months that his company - Public Business Consulting Group (PBCG) - went to work. They painstakingly sought out "savings" that no one else had ever considered*, transferred money from one fund to another**, and implemented energy savings programs.***
That Nick Alioto was so successful that his company made an estimated $1.8 million is less than two years - based upon an agreed-upon pay rate of 20% of all found savings****. That Nick Alioto almost forced the Racine USD to pay a multi-million dollar penalty from breaking a contract with PBCG, but still collected a $750,000 settlement when the district insisted on parting ways.
Southwestern College's Nick Alioto clearly isn't that guy. Knowing that this question must come up, our Nick Alioto is the guy who arrived at the last Governing Board meeting unable to narrow down the amount of budget shortfall any more than, "somewhere between 1.3 and 1.7 million dollars." Our Nick Alioto is the guy unable to divine any way of saving the college's big fat bank account, short of putting faculty and students on the street.
Nope. There's no way this is the same guy.
*Stuff that almost every other Wisconsin public school district had been doing for decades.
**A shell game that meant that taxpayers paid more for those savings, and then paid PBCG its percentage for the privilege of getting ripped off.
***Claiming money saved on hypothetical situations.
Seriously, you need more proof these can't be the same guy? These these links:
JSOnline (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) - "Firm Overbills Racine Schools"
JSOnline - "Director Left Last District in the Hole"
FoxPolitics.Net - "Racine: The Tragedy of Smoke and Mirrors Savings"
Real Debate Wisconsin - "An Interesting Story About PBCG Head Nick Alioto"
JSOnline - "District May Renegotiate With Consulting Firm"
LawyersAndSettlements.com - Settlement Details