Minority Contracts In Chicago Essay, Research Paper
Should Minority Contractors get a pre?determined share of Chicago City
Favoritism abounds, children, from kindergarten through college have at
one point or another claimed they were discriminated against by parents or
teachers because ? They like the other kid better.? Adults also claim that they
are discriminated against because ? He sucks up to the boss? or ? she only got
the raise because I will not tolerate the boss?s invitations to dinner? These are all
excuses people use to try to find a comfortable answer as to why they did not
receive a specific award. These examples definitely apply to the ordeal
concerning the distribution of city contracts to minorities. I believe that ALL of
Chicago?s public construction contracts should be awarded out of merit by a
committee of Aldermen comprising whites, blacks and all other ethnicities.
Whichever construction company has the best deal, quickest completion date,
or does the best work should receive the contract (s) for the construction of a
It seems that corruption is a serious problem in minorities getting a piece
of the city?s contracts. On December 30th of last year, the Chicago Tribune
printed an article which showed that Mayor Daley has been favoring two
construction firms which are owned by the Duff family. One of these firms, Windy
City Maintenance, is allegedly owned by a female member of the Duff family.
The other firm, Remedial Environmental Manpower, is allegedly run by a black
man with links to the Duff family.
From this articles information, it seems that the Duff family appears to
have a number of construction companies owned by its family members. what
most people do not know, who the Mr. Duff and his family are, and why they
have been awarded these contracts. The Duff family is known to have ties with
organized crime, as well as being actively involved with functions related to
Mayor Daley . ( Tribune July 14) The Duff family has provided more than
$30,000 to the Mayor?s coffers, as well as hosting fund-raisers for the Mayor, of
which he attended one last February. ( Tribune July 14 1999)
Mayor Daley has always spoken of his huge affirmative action program.
Providing city contracts for minority owned and operated business has been one
of the cornerstones of this plan. Now that there appears to be a tainting of this
affirmative action plan by the mob and other corrupt organizations, the
African-American community could bring about political trouble for the Mayor in
Besides corruption, price fixing is also a problem. If a firm can produce a
bid that is far lower than the competition?s, they win the contract. Once the firm
has been awarded the contract, it can go about raising the price and making a
profit like the other companies would have done. For instance G.F. Structures, a
firm that deals with fences, and fence installation was a bidder on a contract to
fence in a sections of Jefferson Park, and the tennis courts at Licoln Park. (Sun
Times Jan. 11th 1999) The city of Chicago determined that it would need
15,000 sections of fence to get the job done. G.F. Structures, owned by a Mr.
Crandall had the lowest bid, $15,000. That means that they could install the
fence and pay their workers and make a profit at just one dollar a section. The
second lowest bid was $90,000. Mr. Crandall, like the Duff family has
connections to the Mayor, and his family that date back over thirty years.
(Tribune January 11th 2000) Crandall?s grandfather was a political ally of
Richard J. Daley. Currently, Crandall buys commercial insurance from John
Daley, Mayor Daley?s brother. According to the Tribune, John Daley considers
Crandall a friend, and Crandall is also friends with Alexander Grzyb, Chicago?s
acting purchasing agent.
?On Monday, (January 10) Daley said he had no relationship with
Crandall other than saying an occasional hello.? (Tribune January 11 2000)
How honest does this sound? To me the Mayor?s statement saying that he
has no relationship with Mr. Crandall proves that corruptionis at the top ranks of
Chicago. Crandall has known the Mayor and his family for more than 30 years.
He buys insurance from the John Daley, the Mayor?s own brother, and Richard
Daley has no relationship with him? Something just does not make sense.
With all the corruption going on, Chicago police, and the Federal Bureau
of Investigation have gotten involved to make Chicago corruption free. Rafael
Frias, a Chicago city-council member was indicted on December 12 1999. He
was charged with promising to get a dummy company set up by a contractor
certified as a business owned by a woman and help it receive contracts in
exchange for $500 up front, and $25,000 in donations for the Council members
re-election campaign. While being questioned, Frias was asked ? what do you
think you are a legislator for?? Frias answered ? To make money, thats what life
is about, making money.? (Associated Press Dec. 17th 1999)
With all of the publicity surrounding corrupt city officials, and contracts
being awarded to corrupt contractors, and as personal favors of the Mayor. On
January 28th, Mayor Daley announced a major overhaul of Chicago?s
purchasing department. This overhaul is to bring about the resignation of
Alexander Grzyb, the head of the purchasing department. The city also hired the
auditing firm, Altschuler, Melvoin, and Glasser to review all city contracts and
bills submitted by companies currently involved in construction projects. Daley
said that the problems were with the process, ? a flawed system that needs
fixing? is what he referred to the purchasing department. ( Suntimes Dec. 29
Mayor Daleys actions seem to be the appropriate response to the solution
of this major problem that Chicago faces. But I still believe that the Mayor is
doing whatever he can to fool the citizens of Chicago and try to coerce the
minority citizens of Chicago into thinking that they are getting the promised 25%
of all contracts and that whatever happened in the past has been dealt with. I
say this because The Duff family is still working on City contracts, Alexander
Grzyb has nor resigned yet, and every time the Mayor has a comment about the
situation, it is carefully stated so all the blame leads away from the himself and
is directed at the numerous individuals involved in the purchasing department,
as well as the owners of the construction companies. Another reason I believe
the Mayor is honest in his vows to clean up the city?s act is because he made his
speech on January 29th, two days before the millennium. This is important
because he knew that the media would be placing an emphasis on the new year
and Y2K so his speech would not be the key part of the news broadcast.
Inquiring about the status of Minority contracts and if minorities should
receive a predetermined amount of the contracts, I talked to Cook County
Commissioner Car. Mr. Car told me that the system has to stay as it is because
it will be nearly impossible to come to an the awarding of contracts according to
merit because everyone would have a different opinion on how good the quality
of the work is. Commissioner Car told me that the City is in the process of
reforming the entire purchasing department. He told me that the Daley
administration planned to question and inquire into all of the more than 2,500
firms doing business with the city. ? In essence what they ( Chicago officials) are
doing is asking each of the firms if they can withstand an inquiry about their
eligibility by the media or a judiciary committee.
On one thing that the city and I agree on is the formation of a committee
to award construction projects, as is the case of the park district contract. The
entire contract was to be awarded to G.F. Structure but amidst the corruption
scandal. The contract was divided into three pieces. Once divided into three
pieces, the city gave three different firms a piece of the contract to save money
by getting low bids, and ensure that the task was completed corruption free.
The mayor, relies on fund-raisers and donations to accomplish his
campaign goals, It is only logical that he helps those who help him. It is also
logical for those that are being discriminated against or being deprived of
something that others are receiving to campaign, criticize and protest. This
behavior can always be expected. Favoritism will always exist as will those who
will bend the law a little bit for some extra money. Instead of fighting the issues
of discrimination, and corruption, we should instead focus on trying to come to
an agreement on what is best for everyone in general rather than what is best for
me and my kin.
The thing that is best for everyone, Blacks and whites alike regarding the
distribution of public construction projects is cooperation, and good work.
Whichever firm can do the best job can get the contract, or numerous firms can
work together on the same contract. For instance, if a black firm can lay an
excellent foundation, but it does not do the best roof-work, then a white firm that
is renown for its roof-work can be hired to complete the roof. This way everyone
gets a piece of the take fair and square.
Chicago Tribune. News Illinois. 23 Feb. 2000. Infoweb@newsbank.com
Commissioner Carr. Personal interview. 21 Feb. 2000.
Associated Press News Service. 17 Dec. 1999. Newsbank InfoWeb.
Chicago Sun Times. 29 dec. 1999. ? Contract Mess will be fixed, Daley Says?