Fed Questions Flying on O'Hare Contracts

Blago probe leads to multi-million dollar construction costs

Federal authorities are investigating five construction companies that collectively have gotten hundreds of millions of dollars in construction work at O'Hare International Airpot under Mayor Daley, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned. 

The investigation appears to be an outgrowth of the probe of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, whose fundraiser Christopher G. Kelly was a top roofing contractor at O'Hare. 

Investigators are looking are how those contractors landed their city contracts. 

Kelly was charged by the U.S. Attorney's Office with paying kickbacks to win contracts at O'Hare. Last month, Kelly pled guilty to filing a false tax return. He was accused of using corporate funds to pay off gambling debts. He has pled not guilty to the charges regarding O'Hare. 

Kelly's relationship as a fundraiser for Blagojevich goes back to 2002, during the ousted governor's first run. 

"Chris is a good friend and has been scrutinized for many years for his fundraising for me," Blagojevich once said of Kelly. 

When Blagojevich was charged Dec. 9, federal authorities also arrested John Harris. Prior to becoming Blagojevich's chief of staff, Harris was a top city official at O'Hare. 

According to sources, some of the companies and contracts federal authorities are now looking at include:

  • Rossi Contractors of Northlake, which since 1993 has received $261 million in City Hall contracts, much of that at O'Hare.
  • Castle Construction of Markham, which has received $40 million in city contracts since 2004.
  • Diamond Coring of Chicago.
  • The Stealth Group.
  • BCI Commercial Roofing -- Kelly's company.

 Just yesterday, Blagojevich seemed to say Kelly could have a lot of information for investigators. 

"I imagine he has some insights on Mayor Daley's administration and how contracts and how operations work at O'Hare Airport, and how people get opportunities at O'Hare that have nothing to do with me or state government or my years as governor," Blagojevich told NBC Chicago's Mary Ann Ahern. 

This is not Rossi Construction's first time in the headlines. Back in 2003, it was one of the firms the city chose to dig up Meigs Field.

None of the companies returned calls asking for comment.

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