Mob ties, record of discrimination apparently won't bar privatized janitorial companies from nearly $100 million in CPS business... Corrupt Crony Companies set to get nearly $100 Million Taxpayer Dollars in May 23 Board deal for maintenance services?

Mob ties and reported discrimination against workers are apparently not a barrier for the Chicago Board of Education's contractors — provided those contractors are doing privatized work that was once done by unionized workers working for the Board directly. One of the items on the agenda of the Board's May 23, 2012 meeting will award huge contracts for such work to three controversial companies, none of which is located in Chicago.

In doing some late night reading of the up coming agenda items for the May 23, 2012 Chicago Board agenda. the attentive reader would notice that three contracts that are about to be renewed with three companies (Agenda Item, Board Report # 12-0523-PR19) to pay a little under $100 million ($96,500,000 to be precise) for privatized custodial services in Chicago's schools. The Board Report (the form in which the seven members of the Chicago Board of Education receive the motions upon which they are to act) is buried in more than 200 pages of agenda items that were available under the Open MeetingsAct by noon on Monday, May 21, 2012.

The title page (first of four pages) from the Board Report on the May 23, 2012 agenda of the Chicago Board of Education. If approved by a Board vote on the afternoon of May 23, the contracts to the three controversial privatized janitorial service companies will cost Chicago taxpayers a little under $100 million.But if the easily accessible record is to be believed, there is an obvious disregard for corruption and ethics issues related to giving tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to questionable companies — some that have ongoing discrimination cases in the federal courts, others that have placed national security in question, and one company that reportedly has direct ties to the mob.

Additionally, all of the custodial companies are from outside of Chicago

According to "Board Report 12-0523-PR19" (which appeared on the agenda for the May 23 Board meeting), the Board is set to approve the renewal of three major privatized custodial contracts. The first red flag that jumps out about these contracts is that all the companies are outside of the city of Chicago.

1) RJB Properties, Inc., Vendor # 49611, Orland Park, IL;

2) United Building Maintenance, Vendor # 30456, Carol Stream, IL;

3) We Clean Maintenance & Supplies, Inc, Vendor # 28190, Bridgeview, IL

Chicago Public Schools latest "Chief Financial Officer" David Watkins (above, at the April 23, 2012 meeting of the Board of Education) is the fourth CPS CFO in five years, and the latest to come to Chicago with no knowledge of or experience in the city's public schools. Like "Chief Talent Officer" (formerly "Chief Human Capital Officer", the offices were rebranded) Alicia Winckler (above right), Watkins's expertise in education came from the fact that he was not a veteran educator or a certified Illinois public education financial officer. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.In a city with strict residency rules on employment for teachers (and with other city agencies), it seems questionable that three companies outside the city limits would get multi-million dollar contracts to do janitorial work at a time of high unemployment among Chicago youth and minorities. But this isn't the first such award (or the only one on the agenda for May 23). But there is more.

A simple internet search of all three companies reveals that there are clearly issues that may preclude these companies from conducting business with the city of Chicago — not to mention the Chicago Board of Education (which supposedly has even stricter rules governing vendors due to the fact that federal and state educational funding are involved). Of course, in a school system where the Inspector General devotes most of his investigations every year to determine whether teachers and other workers are surreptitiously living outside the Chicago city limits, it might strain the resources of CPS investigators to run a couple of simple Web checks on some contractors receiving in the tens of millions of dollars each.

There are, for example, violations of Federal Safety and Immigration Laws.

Despite recent claims by the administration of Mayor Rahm Emanuel that falsification of claims to be "women-minority owned" companies are a city concern, the Inspector General has not investigated whether the Total Facility, Twin Cleaning, and We Clean are actually conforming to the requirements of the law. In the case of United Building Maintenance (Vendor # 30456) an article titled "Busted by ICE" investigators found at web address < > documents the violation of Federal employment and homeland security regulations when 15 employees of UBM working at a BP oil refinery were arrested after a two year investigation by ICE which is the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

"There is a serious public safety concern when illegal aliens, who are not authorized to work in the country legally, are working in secure areas of one of our nation's largest oil refineries," said Gary Hartwig, special agent-in-charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Chicago in a news release.

Not to cast aspersions on undocumented workers, but clearly there is a double standard here. The person who comes to this country to try to make a buck and is unlucky not to have legal paperwork to work is criminalized and punished, but the company that hired these individuals is allowed to provide services to a government agency (i.e. the Chicago Board of Education) in the ten of millions of dollars.

RJB Properties has a record of discrimination, retaliation and harassment.

But it doesn't end there. The next case is on of RJB Properties, Inc. (Vendor # 49611) which has, according to U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency that is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against employees, a discrimination case filed against it. Again this is only a cursory investigation not an in-depth legal research or case history of the company and it subsidiaries. The Board agenda became public on May 21, 2012 just before noon, and the Board meets on May 23, 2012. Public review is cursory.

According to the EEOC’s complaint, RJB and Blackstone fired at least six Hispanic employees because of their national origin. They also subjected Latino employees to harassment and different terms and conditions of employment by subjecting them to derogatory names and comments, forcing them to do more work than non-Latino employees, subjecting them to greater scrutiny and stricter work rules than non-Hispanic employees, and denying them overtime. The EEOC alleges that a male employee was sexually harassed and that he was fired for refusing to submit to his supervisor’s sexual advances. In addition, the EEOC claims that RJB and Blackstone retaliated against employees who objected to the discrimination, including two African American supervisors who refused to fire Hispanic employees.

In the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in EEOC v. RJB Properties Inc. et al. (N.D. Ill. Order, April 23, 2012), Case No. 10-cv-02001, sued claiming that RJB discriminated against janitors by asking them to mop floors, shovel snow, remove garbage, by not providing overtime opportunities, and by not promoting employees for jobs to which they never applied. The district court did dismiss some of the claims against RJB but allowed 11 claims to go forward to litigation. The following is from the court order allowing the EEOC to proceed to trial on the following claims:

1. Discriminatory termination on behalf of Eduardo Chavez, Sergio Medina, Venancia Mendoza, Maria Rosales, Maria Rodriguez, and Jessica Vazquez;

2. National origin based harassment on behalf of Martha Lopez and Jessica Vazquez;

3. Retaliation on behalf of Tony Wesley and Todd Jackson;

4. Sexual harassment on behalf of Todd Jackson.

The last company, We Clean Maintenance & Supplies, Inc. (Vendor # 28190), getting part of the $100 million janitorial contract pie is no stranger to corruption and has direct ties to the mafia, according to press reports.

Louann Darrus, the person listed on the CPS agenda, is the “daughter of Julie Leopold who was sentenced to 21 months in prison for filing false documents in her name and the names of family members to get hundreds of thousands of dollars in bank loans” according to a Sun-Times article from March 26, 2007. The article, headlined "Messy past for county cleaners: Ex-owner, in jail for fraud, took mobbed-up money" is easy to find.

The article, reprinted below, goes on to remind the public about the mob connections of We Clean Maintenance & Supplies, Inc. now about to get a lucrative CPS contract:

“She [Julie Leopold] and her son, Anthony Leopold, also took $179,000 from the son of Cicero's mob boss -- money that was part of the $10 million stolen from the Town of Cicero through a mobbed-up insurance company, evidence in a court case shows. Daughter says she's at helm

“Julie Leopold's daughter, Louann Darrus, said Friday her mother no longer owns the janitorial company, We Clean Maintenance and Supplies Inc. Darrus said she bought the company from her mother in April 2005 -- her mother was charged the following May. Darrus has run the company since buying it, she said.

"I take full responsibility for every action this company has taken since," Darrus said. Darrus said company filings that showed her mother was still president were mistaken and that the firm's attorney changed them. She denied ever relying upon her mother's advice since buying the company.

"My mother has nothing to do with it," she said. Darrus' statement seems to contradict what's contained in a court filing by her mother's lawyers, who were seeking leniency for her from the judge in the case. "Louann continues to routinely consult with the defendant [her mother] regarding the business," the September 2005 court filing says. Asked about the filing, Darrus said: "I have no clue about that, sir." Whoever is running the company, it has done well with government contracts. Last week, the Cook County Board voted 9-8, on a request by board President Todd Stroger, to approve a no-bid $357,000 contract to We Clean to clean the county building for the next 135 days. The workers will replace county janitors who were laid off because of budget cuts.

“Files: $750,000 in bad loans

“We Clean has had the contract to clean the County's Juvenile Court facility since January 2001 and also has a piece of a contract valued up to $160 million for janitorial services for Chicago Public Schools, records show. The company is no stranger to controversy. We Clean and other companies linked to Julie Leopold and her family got more than $750,000 in fraudulent loans, thanks to Leopold, who bribed a bank loan officer to get them, court records and evidence shows. The loan officer, Donald Copeland, estimated he got as much as $200,000 in kickbacks from Leopold, according to testimony in his case, prosecuted by Michelle Nasser Weiss and Sergio Acosta.

“Copeland was convicted in October and awaits sentencing. In the 2002 trial of Cicero Town President Betty Loren-Maltese, Leopold's son, Anthony, testified under immunity from prosecution that he turned to his friend, Michael Spano Jr., for money when We Clean faced a cash crunch. Spano Jr. is the son of the Cicero mob boss at the time. Spano Jr. dipped into the more than $10 million stolen by a mobbed-up insurance company from the Cicero town coffers, trial evidence showed. In all, $179,000 in checks were sent to We Clean from November 1993 to December 1995, with some checks going to Anthony Leopold and others going to his mother, evidence showed. The alleged loan required no collateral or promissory note when the money was handed out, court testimony showed. By the time of trial in 2002, out of the $179,000, only $78,209 had been paid back, according to court testimony.”


United Building Maintenance, Vendor # 30456. Busted by ICE investigators, 15 illegal aliens arrested at BP (Dec. 11, 2008) Post Tribune by Andy Grimm We Clean Maintenance & Supplies, Inc, Vendor # 28190 Todd Stroger's mob friends get cleaning contract (Mobbed Up) Posted by Third Generation Chicago Native at 3/26/2007

Messy past for county cleaners; Ex-owner, in jail for fraud, took mobbed-up money (March 26, 2007), By Steve Warmbir And Steve Patterson, Sun-Times Staff Reporters

RJB Properties, Inc, Vendor # 49611, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission V. RJB Properties, Inc., United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division (April 23, 2012)


( available at /About_CPS/The_Board_of_Education /BoardAgendaDocuments/Notice_Agenda%20May%202012%20to%20Print.PDF



Approve exercising the option to renew the agreements with various vendors to provide professional custodial management services to Department of Operations at a total cost for the option period not to exceed $96,500,000 in the aggregate for all vendors, Written documents exercising this option are currently being negotiated. No payment shall be made to any vendor during the option period prior to execution of their written document. The authority granted herein shall automatically rescind as to each vendor in the event their written document is not executed within 90 days of the date of this Board Report. Information pertinent to this option is stated below.

Specification Number : 10-25001 7

Contract Administrator : Hernandez, Miss Patricia 1 773-553-2280


1) Vendor # 4961 1. RJB PROPERTIES, INC., 11415 WEST 183RD PLACE, STE B, ORLAND PARK, IL 60467, Angela M. Shumpert, 708 479-4422, 708-799-7722

2) Vendor # 30456, UNITED BUILDING MAINTENANCE, 165 EASY STREET, CAROL STREAM, IL 60188-0000 Z. James Prokulewicz, 630 653-4848, 630-653-0660

3) Vendor # 281 90. WE CLEAN MAINTENANCE & SUPPLIES, INC, 7545 WEST 99TH STREET, BRIDGEVIEW, IL 60455. Louanna Darrus, 708 598-9087, 708-598-9087


Contact: 11860 - Facility Operations & Maintenance, 125 South Clark Street 16th Floor, Chicago, IL 60603, McGuffage, Mr. Terrence William, 773-553-2960

ORIGINAL AGREEMENT: The original agreements (authorized by Board Report 10-0623-PR9, as amended by Board Report 11-0727-PR5) are for a term commencing July 1,2010 and ending June 30,2012, with the Board having two options to renew for one year each. The original agreements were awarded on a competitive basis pursuant to Board Rule 7-2.

OPTION PERIOD: The term of each agreement is being extended for one year commencing July 1,2012 and ending June 30, 2013.

OPTION PERIODS REMAINING: There is one option period for one year remaining.

SCOPE OF SERVICES: Vendors will continue to supply all labor, supervision and management expertise necessary to provide services required at specified Board facilities, inclusive of all associated costs. The services provided shall be in compliance with applicable Federal, State and City regulations.

DELIVERABLES: During the option period each vendor shall continue to deliver custodial services at assigned Board facilities.

OUTCOMES: Vendors' services will result in providing Chicago Public Schools with clean facilities.

COMPENSATION: Vendors shall be paid during this option period as follows: Bi-weekly invoicing at the rates set forth in their respective agreement; total not to exceed the sum of $96,500,000 in the aggregate for all vendors.

AUTHORIZATION: Authorize the General Counsel to include other relevant terms and conditions in the written option documents. Authorize the President and Secretary to execute the option documents. Authorize Chief Operating Officer to execute all ancillary documents required to administer or effectuate this option.

AFFIRMATIVE ACTION: This contract is in full compliance with the goals required by the Remedial Program for Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprise Participation in Goods and Services Contracts. The MBWBE requirements for this contract include: 30% total MBE and 15% total WEE participation. The Vendors have identified and scheduled the following:

United Building Maintenance, Inc. Total MBE - 85%

United Building Maintenance, Inc. (H), 166 Easy Street, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. Contact: James Cabrera

Total Facility Maintenance (AA), 615 Wheat Lane, Suite C, Wood Dale, lllinois 60191, Contact: Dolores Daniels, Total WBE - 15%

Twin Cleaning Professional, Inc. 1701 S. 1 st Ave., Suite 404E Maywood, lllinois 60153 Contact: Taunesha Carpenter

We Clean Maintenance and Supplies, Inc. Total MBE - 30%

Jackson's Cleaning Services, Inc. (AA), 2929 202nd Street, Lynwood, lllinois 60411 Contact: George Jackson, Sr. Total WBE - 70%

One of the reasons why the Chicago Board of Education might miss the facts about the proposed privatized janitorial contracts is that three of the four people who signed off on the recommendation to the Board have been in Chicago less than one year. Above, the final page of the Board Report shows that the recently hired (three months ago) "Chief Procurement Officer" Sebastien de Longeaux and the also recently hired (six months ago) "Chief Financial Officer" David Watkins are the two main officers who reviewed the contract proposal. Chief Executive Officer Jean-Claude Brizard was moving to Chicago from Rochester New York one year ago, after being appointed CEO by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Patrick Rocks, the CPS General Counsel, does not review the history of proposed contractors, but only recommends approval of Board Reports if they conform properly to legal "form." We Clean Maintenance and Supplies, Inc., 7545 West 99th Street, Chicago, lllinois 60455, Contact: Louann Darrus

RJB Properties, Inc. Total MBE - 95%

RJB Properties, Inc. (AA)

1 141 5 West 183rd Place

Orland Park, lllinois 60467

Contact: Angela Shumpert

Total WBE 5%

Geralex, Inc.

2007 S. Blue Island Avenue

Chicago, lllinois 60608

Contact: Alejandra Alvarado

LSC REVIEW: Local School Council approval is not applicable to this report.

FINANCIAL: Charge to Operations: 96,500,000- FYI 3

1 1880-230-541 05-254007-0000000-201 3- $96,500,000

CFDA#: Not Applicable

GENERAL CONDITIONS: lnspector General - Each party to the agreement shall acknowledge that, in accordance with 105 ILCS 5134-13.1, the lnspector General of the Chicago Board of Education has the authority to conduct certain investigations and that the lnspector General shall have access to all information and personnel necessary to conduct those investigations.