Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fraudulent “Disadvantaged” Businesses Taint City Set Aside Program

Three subcontractors on City of Chicago contracts worth millions of dollars have been accused in federal criminal complaints of defrauding the taxpayers by falsely claiming to have worked as certified woman owned or disadvantaaged businesses for which a percentage of work is set aside in City of Chicago contracting requirements. Perdel Contracting and Accurate Steel Installers, owned by Elizabeth Perino of Lockport and Diamond Coring, owned by Anthony Cappello of Homer Glen, are accused of submitting false invoices and purchase orders in support of minority and disadvantaged business set aside requirements on City of Chicago contracts with major Chicago area construction businesses.

In addition to evidencing how deeply political corruption runs through Chicago and Illinois public contracting, these criminal informations, unsealed last week, demonstrate that the laudable policy goal of making the American construction industry more minority and gender inclusive is often corrupted in the execution, to the considerable disadvantage of both the public and those honest business owners who go to the trouble of obtaining proper minority or woman owned, and disadvantaged business certifications from government agencies, and then submit genuine bids to general contractors to work on federal, state and local government projects.

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