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Janitors’ Union Calling for Investigation of City Contract

Laura Garza of the SEIU wants the O'Hare janitorial contract investigated.

Laura Garza of the SEIU wants the O’Hare janitorial contract investigated.

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CHICAGO (CBS) — The man behind a company that struck a big deal with the city of Chicago that’s expected to cut jobs, is raising eyebrows.

The union representing 350 O’Hare janitors is calling on Illinois’ Attorney General to investigate whether the man has ties to the mob. The man is Richard Simon, and his company, is Chicago- based United Maintenance Company. That company is set to takeover janitorial services at O’Hare in two weeks, but the businessman’s past and his deal with the city is being brought to the attention of state and city leaders.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is being called a “job killer” by members of the Service Employees International Union.

Three-hundred fifty O’Hare janitors are expected to lose their jobs as of December 15th, a part of Mayor Emanuel’s plan to privatize the city’s janitorial services. It’s a decision which had union members picketing in front of Emanuel’s home Thursday.

Part of the contract was awarded to United Maintenance, a company running out of a South Loop building, headed-up by businessman Rick Simon.

“This company is known for undercutting jobs, undercutting wages, and under cutting benefits,” said Laura Garza, Secretary- Treasurer with SEIU Local One.

Simon is a former business partner with William Daddano, Jr. known for his mob ties.

“There might be some questionable people who have been associated with this company and so we want Lisa Madigan to formally investigate,” said Garza.

In 2004, Madigan wrote an eight-page letter to Illinois’ Gaming Board, calling Daddano and his family, “reputed members of organized crime.” Daddano was said to be involved with a proposed casino at the time.

The union is also appealing to the city’s Inspector General.

CBS 2 asked Garza what the union is hoping the investigations will produce.

Garza responded by saying, “We’re hoping that we slow down this process. That the city revisits this contract and that they really take a deep look at what this company is associated with.”

Once learning about the union’s actions, Mayor Emanuel’s office released a statement saying, “The City has no reason to believe that there is any wrongdoing with the United Maintenance or its owner. However if material issues arise the city would take appropriate actions to protect its interests.”

City Inspector General Joseph Ferguson is leaving it up to the city’s Procurement Department, which is responsible for city contracts, to report any conflicts to his office.