The contracting fiefdom of Chicago’s Duff family all but ended in May with the sentencing of four top members and associates for various fraud, money-laundering and racketeering offenses. Last month saw additional closure. On October 20, Terrence Dolan, former operations manager for Windy City Maintenance, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to 11 counts of mail fraud. Windy City, a Duff-owned business, falsely had filed as a woman-owned business in order to land a contract from the City of Chicago.
James Duff and William Stratton, respectively, ex-vice president and business agent of Local 3 of the Liquor and Wine Sales Representatives, an affiliate of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees (HERE), had been two key principals in the larger scheme. Duff, a close friend of Mayor Daley, already had pleaded guilty; Stratton, a black friend and minority-group “front,” later was convicted by a jury along with a pair of insurance executives, John Leahy and Edward Wisniewski. The FBI, the IRS, and the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) and Office of Inspector General had conducted a joint investigation of the Duffs’ use of female and minority fronts to obtain lucrative contracts.
Union Corruption Update months ago opined that the corruption in this episode was not simply the Duffs’ way of doing business, but also the affirmative-action principle at work. UCU reiterates this position. As long as the awarding of public-sector contracts is weighted in favor of nonwhite and female applicants, cases similar to this will crop up, in Chicago and elsewhere. (OLMS, 11/10).