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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Cuyahoga County Commissioners caught fixing contracts again

Posted By on Wed, Apr 2, 2008 at 2:57 PM

Jimmy Dimora, caught once again doing unseemly things with your money.
A story on the front page of today’s Plain Dealer provides new details about just how screwed up the county’s new headquarters project has become. As you may recall, the commissioners’ first mistake was hiring a construction manager, R.P. Carbone Co., whose chief was soon indicted for bribery in Lorain County. But what we didn’t know was that Carbone also brought McTech Corp. on as a “small business” partner on the project. Small business, in this case, is bureaucratic code for a minority-owned company. Under the terms of the deal, McTech was supposed to do 30 percent of the work on a $10 million contract... But alas and sigh, we know that McTech has a long and storied history of being a minority front company that simply lends its pigmentation to a project, then kicks back most of the money and work back to Whitey. In fact, McTech is simply a reincarnation of Choice Construction, a notorious front company from the Mike White era [“Black on Black Crime,” February 21, 2007]. When Choice owners Fred and Gail Perkins got busted by the feds for tax evasion and illegal campaign contributions, their company died. But most of its employees and construction contracts — including those at Hopkins airport and the East Cleveland school district — were simply transferred over to their son Mark’s company, McTech. And thus was born a whole new opportunity for scamming. So was it any real surprise when, as the PD reports, county monitors noticed that an asbestos-removal supervisor on the headquarters project was listed as an employee of McTech, when three days earlier he worked for Carbone? It’s an age-old trick. Another team of companies on the county project, the white-owned Precision Environmental and black-owned Lawrence Harris Construction, pulled the same thing. In fact, this charade has been going on throughout Cleveland and Cuyahoga County for at least 15 years, screwing scores of legitimate black contractors in its wake. The question is, when’s it going to stop? -- Lisa Rab

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