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Latino State News

Public Building Commission Accused of Over-Paying Minority-Owned Businesses

According to a report released Wednesday, the Chicago Public Building Commission, which oversees hundreds of millions of dollars of construction projects, “grossly overstated” the amount of money paid to minority contractors in 2009.

The report given by Inspector General Joe Ferguson states that the PBC paid $89 million to certified minority-owned businesses two years ago, and that this was an overpayment of about 40 percent. He also said that women-owned businesses, which received $16.1 million, were overpaid by 3 percent.

The report concludes the overestimated payments occurred because the PBC did not properly track payments to specific vendors. In some cases, the reports adds, payments were paid to unqualified minority- and women-owned businesses.

In the city of Chicago, 25 percent of all contract payments are set-aside for minority businesses and 5 percent to women-owned firms. The commission oversees construction fr the city, Cook County, Chicago Public Schools, the Chicago Park District, as well as other agencies.

This report, comes just a week after another that accused the PBC of “widespread fraud, abuse and mismanagement.”

The accusations made against the board are for alleged over-payments made while Mayor Richard Daley was the head of the PBC. Current President Mayor Ram Emanual had his first meeting as leader of the board on Tuesday.