Chicago – Several Chicago-area minority-owned businesses have filed suit against Houston-based Waste Management (WM) over a subcontract the company awarded that was intended for minority- and women-owned companies. According to the Associated Press, the lawsuit claims that WM had knowledge that they awarded a $74 million subcontract to a business that was certified by Chicago as a minority-owned business, but is owned by James Duff, a white contractor with political connections. The suit, which plaintiffs hope to seek class-action status for, was filed Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court.
Duff was sentenced earlier this year to 10 years in prison after he admitted he had lied to government officials to get contracts reserved for minorities. Federal prosecutors did not accuse WM of any wrongdoing in that case. James Berry, a former WM executive, received immunity from prosecution for testifying that the company awarded the subcontract to Duff’s company even though he knew that the company falsely claimed to be minority-owned.
A spokesman for Waste Management declined to speak with the Associated Press for the article because the company had not yet reviewed the lawsuit.