Feds Trash City's Garbage Guys

Federal indictments allege bid rigging

Two executives of a company long favored by Mayor Richard Daley's administration have been indicted on federal bid rigging charges in connection with a city contract to repair garbage carts.

The federal fraud charges allege Douglas Ritter, president of Urban Services of America, and Steven Fenzl, a vice president, schemed to win a $2 million contract with the city.

The Feds say Urban Services paid far less to its minority- and women-owned subcontractors than it had promised city officials as a condition of receiving the business, the Chicago Tribune reports Wednesday.

Urban Services has been paid about $30 million by the city for work including the garbage carts as well as cleaning up after crowds at the Taste of Chicago and sorting garbage as part of the mayor's failed blue-bag recycling program.

The Tribune outlines tens of thousands of dollars in Urban Services donations to local political groups, including the scandal-plagued Hispanic Democratic Organization.

The indictments were the first in an ongoing investigation by the U.S. Justice Department into antitrust issues in the garbage-cart repair industry.

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