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CHICAGO (CBS) – More questions have been raised about executives at a Chicago company that was just awarded a $99.5 million city contract for custodial work at O’Hare International Airport.
CBS 2′s Dana Kozlov has learned a top company executive served time in federal prison on mob racketeering charges.
Paul Fosco currently bills himself as the executive vice president of United Service; the company awarded the contract to clean O’Hare.
Despite that, and his felony conviction, a city spokesperson said there’s no basis to review the company’s bid on the O’Hare deal
In 1987, Fosco was indicted for racketeering, along with co-defendant and former Chicago mob boss Anthony Accardo. The Chicago Crime Commission has an entire file on Fosco.
Currently, though, Fosco works as the executive vice president of United Service – the umbrella company of non-union United Maintenance, which received a $99.5 million city contract for custodial work at O’Hare.
According to news reports, United Maintenance owner Richard Simon was once business partners with William Daddano, Jr., who also is a reputed mob figure.
Neither Simon nor Fosco were at the United offices, and unavailable for comment on concerns raised by some union leaders who have questioned why the city would award a contract to a company whose vice president has past mob ties and a felony racketeering conviction.
“We have been asking the mayor to rebid this contract, and that’s what we want him to do. We want people to investigate this company, and rebid this contract, period,” said Laura Garza, secretary-treasurer of Service Employees International Union Local 1. The union represents the custodians who are losing their jobs due to United Maintenance taking over janitorial work at O’Hare.
But the mayor has shrugged off reports of Fosco’s and Simon’s alleged mob ties.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel noted the five-year janitorial contract was competitively bid, and he said the firm is working with SEIU to try to find jobs for employees of the previous custodial contractor.
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The mayor didn’t seem bothered by reports of Simon’s mob ties. He said the contract means jobs for the city.
“United Maintenance is also hiring some of the other former employees – about 100 of them today – that they were required to do,” he said. “We will have a vigorous enforcement, and want to make sure everybody lives by and appropriately stands by the law.”
The city has been moving against companies that violate their city contracts.
City Chief Procurement Officer Jamie Rhee said Fosco’s past has no bearing on the current, controversial O’Hare contract. That’s because Fosco isn’t the owner of United Service.
Rhee said current law dictates only owners, or those owning more than a 7 ½ percent interest in a company, are subject to a rigorous background check.
“It’s perfectly legal, but maybe it’s time for the city to revisit the criteria it uses to award contracts, and to possibly consider banning certain companies that have individuals with felony backgrounds or mob ties,” Better Government Association President and CEO Andy Shaw said. “I’m not saying that’s what they should do. … This is a perfect time for the Emanuel administration, and perhaps the City Council, to take a fresh look at the criteria for awarding contracts.”
Late Wednesday afternoon, a spokesperson for United Service said Fosco was hired by the company’s previous owner. The spokesperson said, “Paul has been a good employee.”