SEIU* Local 1 is calling on Chicago Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans to rebid an O'Hare International Airport janitorial contract in light of revelations that the company may have mob connections.
The company in question is United Maintenance. United Service Companies, parent to United Maintenance, also provided security and cleaning services at Rivers Casino in Des Plaines. This week, the Better Government Association reported that Rivers Casino paid a $1.65 million fine to the Illinois Gaming Board as part of the agency's probe into the casino's hiring of United Service Companies, operated by Richard "Rick" Simon, who has reputed ties to mob figures.
SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff released the following statement Friday:
Going back to day one, prior to the awarding of the O'Hare contract in 2012, United Maintenance president Richard Simon was in violation of the bidding process by failing to disclose part ownership of the company by a known mob figure, as described by the Illinois Crime Commission, William Daddano Jr.
We have brought these violations formally in front of levels of city, county and state government including: the Chicago Chief Procurement Officer Jamie Rhee, then Chicago Aviation Commissioner Rosemarie Andolino, Chicago Inspector General Joe Ferguson, Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, Attorney General Lisa Madigan as well as Mayor Rahm Emanuel. All of whom have failed to stop United from getting the O'Hare contract.
As the top aviation executive in the City of Chicago, Ginger Evans is supposed to ensure O'Hare Airport employs reputable and trustworthy individuals.
However, she allows United Maintenance whose president Richard Simon, a businessman with personal ties to reputed mob figures, who was repeatedly investigated in a still-unsolved missing persons' case, to have a custodial contract at O'Hare Airport.
It is very disturbing that a contractor that was thrown out from Rivers Casino because of his 'notorious and unsavory' reputation with mob ties would continue to be employed in secure areas at O'Hare Airport, the fourth busiest airport in the country.
Furthermore, reviews of the O'Hare United Maintenance contract raise serious questions whether the wages outlined in the deal were paid to the workers.
We are calling on Ginger Evans to follow the Illinois Gaming Commission's lead and rebid the United Maintenance janitorial contract at O'Hare.
The Chicago City Council Progressive Reform Caucus is also calling on Evans to "revisit" the O'Hare janitorial contract.
"Given the recent revelations about United Maintenance's questionable practices and ties, we urge Commissioner Evans to revisit this contract and consider reopening the agreement for other bids," said Ald. John Arena (45th).
Ald. Ricardo Munoz (22nd) added: "We are concerned about the highly questionable associations between the owner of United Maintenance and organized crime figures, as the Better Government Association and other media outlets have reported. Now that this connection has come to light, it would behoove our city to take a closer look at his role in our airport. This is a good opportunity to take a very close look at who the city is entrusting with such a serious responsibility as maintenance of our airport."
Aldermen also responded to the union's concerns that workers may not have received the wages they were promised under the original agreement with United Maintenance.
"No contractor doing work for this city, paid with public funds, ought to take the contract for granted or act with impunity in the treatment of its workers," said Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th). "Chicago is, after all, a union town. We'd like to see Commissioner Evans reopen the process to hire an ethical employer of good reputation to take care of the gateway to Chicago and to treat its workers with respect and integrity."
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