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The [Friday] Papers

"Tripped up by a whistleblower, clout-heavy firm McHugh Construction has agreed to pay $12 million in fines to resolve a case involving alleged fraud on government programs intended to benefit women and minority-owned subcontractors, according to the U.S. Department of Justice," the Sun-Times reports.

In exchange for refusing to answer questions from reporters, the Sun-Times published a statement prepared by McHugh's public relations department:

"Over the last 26 months, we have not only cooperated fully with the government, but we have taken proactive steps to become an industry leader in . . . compliance issues," company chairman Patricia McHugh "said."

What's funny about that is that in a letter to "clients, colleagues, competitors and friends" on its website addressing the matter, McHugh boasts that it has operated on a principle of transparency since its founding in 1897.

What's also funny is that it boasts it has similarly operated on principles of integrity and honor, but is just now, after 117 years of doing business in Chicago, taking proactive steps to addressing minority contracting fraud.

Oh, and it also reported more than a half a billion dollars in revenue last year.

i wonder if their wrists hurt when they get slapped.

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"Project manager Ryan Keiser has a passion for building big, so he was thrilled eight years ago when he joined a suburban firm that partnered with clout-heavy McHugh Construction on major projects like bridges, highways and rapid transit infrastructure," the Tribune reports.

"But he quickly learned that working construction in Chicago didn't necessarily mean building anything. Keiser said he was instead forced to participate in a subcontracting scam, spending his days falsifying purchase orders, labor hours and other paperwork to show that his company - which was owned by a woman - was doing jobs that were actually being handled by McHugh."

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"The probe involved about $150 million in McHugh contracts on some of the biggest recent public works projects in the Chicago area, including the reconstruction of Kennedy Expressway ramps in 2005, the massive 2006 revamp of the CTA Brown Line, the reconstruction of the North Avenue Bridge in 2006 and the 2010 Wacker Drive viaduct reconstruction.

"Under laws designed to give companies with less clout a foot in the door, McHugh was supposed to subcontract out about $40 million of the work on those projects to businesses owned by women or minorities."

Impact of McHugh's behavior vs. Donald Sterling's thought process. Discuss.

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"McHugh admitted no wrongdoing and will not be barred from winning future government contracts."

Maybe they'll buy the Clippers.

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"Keiser's attorney, Mike Kanovitz, acknowledged that a $12 million hit is unlikely to make an immediate dent in the world of construction deals.

"Kanovitz also blamed the city's lax oversight and 'bad whistleblower culture' for fostering an environment where fraud is rampant."

McHugh, for example, remains defiant - no matter what statement they put out for public consumption.

"In a letter to employees posted on its website, McHugh said it 'recognizes the seriousness of the allegations' but disputed 'any suggestion that we intentionally disregarded the requirements of (disadvantaged business) programs.'"

We didn't intentionally ignore decades of massive minority contracting fraud in Chicago until now; we just coincidentally decided to become an industry leader in preventing it when visited by the FBI.

Patricia McHugh, you are today's Worst Person In Chicago.

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The Week In Juvenile Justice
I'll provide some of the takeaways, you'll have to click through to see the items they are attached to.

Indeed, this is the kind of context missing amidst an explosion of crime news fueled by data geeks getting their hands on police stats, hyperlocal sites streaming incident reports, reporters and hobbyists retweeting police scanners, and homicide watch projects at large newspapers that not only track every victim but raise the bar on melodrama-for-clicks. Crime really is down.

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I'm sure the program helps some particular individuals but I'm always skeptical of approaches that fail to address structural root causes both because they are rarely if ever sustainable and because they fail to address structural root causes.

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At recent House and Senate budget hearings, Gregg's performance was panned for her lack of grasp of basic agency financial and operational details, according to accounts. Gregg fumbled for answers regarding recent cuts to the agency's budget despite being spoon-fed questions by lawmakers. Legislators - Democrats and Republicans - were privately stunned by Gregg's lack of preparation.

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The cruelest irony is police actually found DNA evidence implicating someone else in the murder, just two days after it happened, records show. But they didn't hand it to prosecutors, so it was never used in court.

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Chicago Newsroom vs. Chicagoland
Real journalists vs. fake ones.

Lawsuit Demands DOJ Release More Secret Surveillance Court Rulings
"The government's secret interpretation of laws and the Constitution needs to end."

Meet The Magic Blackhawks Ice Bucket
Licensed by the NHL and the NCAA.

Beachwood Photo Booth: Finest Quality
The Zwick Window Shade Co.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Yo La Tengo, Eleventh Dream Day, Jon Langford & Sally Timms, Diana Ross, The Aquabats, Leon Russell, Sons of Hippies, Peter Wolf, Circuit des Yeux, When Wealthy Fell, Galantis, I Am Icarus, Eleven Fifty Two, Glass Cloud, letlive, Alter Bridge, Bombay Bicycle Club, and Gabe Dixon.

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BeachBook
* Rent Too High? Move To Singapore.

Redfin, the real estate website, recently found that there was not a single home on the market in San Francisco that would be affordable on a teacher's salary.

* Fed Study: Poor Falling Further Behind Rest Of U.S.

Seemingly related: Dow Closes At Record High As Fed Pares Stimulus; Study: U.S. Policies Favor The Wealthy; CDC: Hundreds Of Thousands Of Poor Americans Die Unnecessarily Every Year Because They Lack Access To Quality Health Care.

Oh, and this:

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: The new old tip line.



Permalink

Posted on May 2, 2014


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock Including Riot Fest Highlights.
TV - No Rehabilitating Vietnam.
POLITICS - Trump's Farmer Heavily Subsidized.
SPORTS - The Cubs' Season In Verse.

BOOKS - Dots & Dashes.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Certified Angus Beef® Honors Chicago Stars.


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