FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Ed Gardner seeks details in City of Chicago's claim that blacks now getting 21% contracts
Thursday, October 25, 2012 1:00 PM
Chicago—Doubting the city’s recent announcement that African Americans are now receiving 21 percent of Chicago’s $1.2 billion contractual pie, business icon Ed Gardner is meeting with Chicago’s Chief Procurement Officer Jamie Rhee Thursday, October 25, 2012, at her City Hall office.
Garner, who will be accompanied by his long time friend and confidante, Carl McFarren, and Clarence Wood, president of the Coalition of African American Leaders (C.O.A.L.), said he doesn’t believe the 21 percent figure that was recently published.
They are meeting with Rhee at 1 p.m. in Room 406 at City Hall.
“I want to know who are these African American contractors who are getting this 21 percent of the city’s contractual pie,” said Gardner. “How big are these contracts? “I want to know what types of contracts did they get, and if they are successful, we want them to help other African Americans achieve the same goals,” Gardner said.
Gardner wants to know how the percentage jumped from 8 percent last year to 21 percent this year and whether the African Americans were general contractors or sub-contractors.
“Frankly, I don’t believe this 21 percent figure because there is no evidence in the streets of Chicago to reflect this 21 percent figure.” Gardner said the playing field is not even for black contractors or workers.
“Contractors are paying Latino’s under the table money. This is why some contractors can bid low because they are paying their workers under the table. They pay them cash, and they don’t pay union dues,” charged Gardner.
“As I continue to ride around the city inspecting these construction sites, there are still few African American workers, and that is unacceptable,” Gardner said. "What I see does not reflect a 21 percent increase in city contracts for African Americans."
Gardner will answer questions after he meets with the Chief Procurement Officer.
"On behalf of the Rev. Willie T. Barrow Consumer Education and Consumer Action Project of The National Black Wall Street Chicago Black economic advocacy organization, we are pleased to have been one of the original group of organizers and activists to support Mr. Ed Gardner in his current efforts and publicly support his efforts today. Something about this new 21% claim by the City and some Black elected officials doesnt pass the smell test and we absolutely need the public clarity and transparency that is being sought today at City Hall with the delegation led by Mr. Ed Gardner.
After almost 20 years of the Black community complaining about Black contracting never seeming to get over 10% that in just over a year of Mayor Emanuels administration that this number would skyrocket to 21% is just unbelieveable and we must demand the specifics sought by Mr. Gardner and his delegation while we continue to receive the horror stories from many Black contractors and service providers who say they are continuing to lose business, some to the point that they have had to close their Black owned businesses, close to closing their businesses with more losses of community workers from this process of saying that "minority" goals are being met with other groups under the term "minority" at the specific expense of "Black" contractors, services providers and workers even in majority Black communities.
National Black Wall Street Chicago and other Black economic advocacy, public policy advocates and organizations will continue to work under Mr. Gardners leadership and counsel in developing the current database of qualified Black contractors, service providers and workers who are absolutely qualified to work even more under government contract opportunities in this City, County and State projects and especially in majority Black communities. And we will continue to provide real stories and real examples that no matter how these current stories try and reflect monumental increases in Black contracts that our reality that we see in this city and in majority Black neighborhoods reflect a different reality and we again are pleased to echo and support Mr. Gardner's efforts in transparency with this latest report asking the Black community to believe that Black contrating has went up to 21% when we can see no evidence that would make us believe this report and w e will continue to present our moral, legislative, and public policy remedies."
(Mark S. Allen)