Chicago Sun Times reporter Dan Mihalopoulos is reporting that five Chicago aldermen have asked City of Chicago Inspector General Joseph Ferguson on Wednesday to investigate a $99.4 million cleaning deal at O’Hare Airport. At the same time, SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff went further as he held a news conference in front of Mayor Emanuel's fifth floor office and asked that Mayor Emanuel void the contract with South Loop-based United Maintenance Co. Inc.
In the letter to Inspector General Ferguson, the aldermen said that the "ownership of United changed in December 2011, about 10 months before the City awarded United the contract, yet United did not officially notify the City of the ownership change until December 21, 2012." The letter added that this appears "to be a violation of City procurement rules."
“This is a serious deception I would say,” President Balanoff said. “And it’s a violation of city requirement and should result, I believe, in this contract being voided.”
“I don’t think this is a minor technicality that you don’t report who owns your company,” Balanoff said. “He knew for a year, why did he wait until after the fact, after he got this $100 million contract and then put it in?”
The City Council members who signed the letter to the Inspector General were Roderick Sawyer (6th), Ricardo Munoz (22nd), Scott Waguespack (32nd), Nicholas Sposato (36th) and John Arena (45th). Sun Times reporter Mihalopoulos pointed out, however, that the SEIU Local 1 has donated more than $150,000 to the campaigns of the aldermen who signed the letter to Ferguson, including almost $74,000 to Munoz and more than $50,000 to Waguespack.
The Chicago City Hall Examiner reported last November that more than 300 janitors at O’Hare airport would lose their jobs right before Christmas this year because Mayor Rahm Emanuel awarded a key public contract to a cleaning contractor with a history of not only undercutting good jobs, but now the issue has been raised of mob ties of the owner of the firm.
United Maintenance Co. Inc., owned by Richard Simon, was involved in another company with alleged mob figure William Daddano Jr. from 1998 until that firm was officially disbanded on Dec. 17, 2011.
The mayor's office and the office of the inspector general could not be reached for comment by press time.
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John is the author of an award-winning book, the 2010 Winner of the USA National Best Book award for African American studies, published by The Elevator Group Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots: How Barack Obama, Two Bookstore Owners, and 300 Volunteers did it. Also available an eBook on Amazon. John is also a member of the Society of Midland Authors and is a book reviewer of political books for the New York Journal of Books