"I would note that that same company has a number of contracts with high rises downtown in the city of Chicago with SEIU," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Tuesday. "So, there's a fuller story, a more complete story. There's more than just one side to this story."
The mob-related questions keep coming in connection with the company awarded a $99 million custodial contract at O'Hare International Airport, and for the second day the mayor dodged potential Rahmfather implications.
Reports surfaced Wednesday that Paul Fosco, a vice president of United Service Companies, served time in 1987 after he was charged in the same corruption case as late mobster Anthony “Big Tuna” Accardo, who was acquitted. A day earlier the Chicago Sun-Times reported the owner of United Service, Richard Simon, had partnered in the past with alleged mob figure William Daddano Jr.
Emanuel skirted questions about both connections, twice pointing to the city's "competitive process" that he said resulted in work for the Service Employees International Union and the hiring of about 100 former employees
"I would note that that same company has a number of contracts with high rises downtown in the city of Chicago with SEIU," Emanuel said Tuesday. "So, there's a fuller story, a more complete story. There's more than just one side to this story."
“We will have a vigorous enforcement and make sure everybody lives by and appropriately stands by the law,” he said Wednesday.
Last month Emanuel's administration awarded the O'Hare cleaning contract to United Maintenance, replacing Scrub, Inc., whose contract expired June 30. The move led to dozens of upset O'Hare janitors showing up at the mayor's house (on his birthday) to express their frustration with the contract being given to an entity they said doesn't pay a living wage.
"This is about the mayor taking care of his millionaire friends, and this is about the mayor taking away middle class jobs," said SEIU Local 1 secretary-treasurer Laura Rueda.
The protesters held 52 candles in honor of Emanuel's birthday and sang Happy Birthday in English, Spanish and Polish, the languages spoken by the workers.
They called on the mayor to walk a day in their shoes and reconsider the deal.
A city spokesperson said the deal was made in an open and fair process "to select the contractor with the focus on getting a fair and efficient deal for taxpayers."
"United Maintenance is working with the existing employees to offer them opportunities. The City is confident that the quality of service at the airport will be high," the spokesperson said.