More mob ties to contractor in O’Hare cleaning deal
BY DAN MIHALOPOULOS Staff Reporter email@example.com December 5, 2012 5:59PM
An American Airlines flight lands at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Ill., on Thursday, September 20, 2012. | Andrew A. Nelles~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 7, 2013 7:21AM
A high-ranking employee of the contractor who recently won a $99.4 million janitorial contract with Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration once served a prison sentence after he was charged in the same corruption case as late Chicago mob boss Anthony “Big Tuna” Accardo.
Paul A. Fosco was convicted on racketeering charges in 1987, sentenced to a 10-year prison term and left federal prison in 1993, public records show. He now is an executive vice president of United Service Companies, according to his profile posted on the LinkedIn networking website.
United Service is owned by Richard Simon, a former Chicago Police officer who led the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau from 2002 to 2005. On Oct. 31, Emanuel’s administration chose one of United’s many companies, United Maintenance Co. Inc., to clean O’Hare International Airport for five years starting Dec. 15.
The Chicago Sun-Times first reported last week that Simon had partnered in yet another firm with William Daddano Jr., who was accused of organized-crime ties by Attorney General Lisa Madigan and the Chicago Crime Commission.
After shrugging off Simon’s business ties to Daddano this week, Mayor Rahm Emanuel was asked Wednesday to comment on Fosco. The mayor again defended the deal, which has faced heavy criticism from organized labor leaders. They say it will result in the dismissal of hundreds of union workers.
“Look, it was competitively bid,” Emanuel said, adding that United Maintenance would hire about 100 employees who currently clean O’Hare. “We will have a vigorous enforcement and make sure everybody lives by and appropriately stands by the law.”
But Arthur Bilek, the crime commission’s executive vice president, said the deal with United Maintenance “should not have been made.”
“These are not the kind of people you want to have city contracts,” Bilek said. “Clearly, this is a situation that doesn’t look good for the city.”
Later Wednesday, Emanuel’s chief procurement officer, Jamie Rhee, told the Sun-Times the city couldn’t prevent Simon from bidding for and winning city work because of his ties to Fosco and Daddano. She said only owners of bidding companies are required to disclose any convictions they have during the past five years or if they have ever been convicted of committing a crime that harmed city government.
“We’re talking about a conviction in the 1980s,” Rhee said of Fosco. “That’s 25, 30 years ago, and [Fosco] is not an owner.”
Simon and Daddano were in business together from 1998 until a year ago, state records show. In 2004, Madigan described Daddano and three other family members as “reputed members of organized crime.”
Asked about Daddano, Rhee replied, “If it’s an indictment or conviction, then we really would take a hard look . . . We hold our contractors to the absolute highest standards.”
Reached by phone this week, Fosco declined to comment, citing advice from a company attorney.
A spokesman for Simon said Fosco is one of many vice presidents at Simon’s companies and forwarded a statement from an executive with United Maintenance, who praised Fosco as “a good employee.”
The company is based in the South Loop and has 5,000 employees across the country. Simon has worked there for more than 47 years, but he “completed his purchase of United Maintenance in 2009, more than 16 years after Paul Fosco was hired by the company’s previous owner,” said Anthony D’Angelo, director of corporate governance for United Maintenance.
That would mean Fosco, now 63, went to work for United Maintenance shortly after he was released from federal prison.
Fosco was among more than a dozen defendants in a case filed in Florida in the 1980s. His co-defendants included Accardo and reputed Florida underworld boss Santo Trafficante Jr., federal court records show.
The U.S. attorney in Miami alleged that union dental and eye clinic owners paid more than $2 million in bribes to top laborers’ union officials who promised to “open the coffers . . . and let them build a business that was worth millions and millions of dollars.”
Fosco was convicted of bribing his father, Laborers International Union of North America President Angelo Fosco. Before Fosco was sentenced, the judge in his case received a letter on Fosco’s behalf from former Chicago Bears quarterback Sid Luckman, the Miami Herald reported.
Angelo Fosco and Accardo were acquitted, and Trafficante died before standing trial.
In 1978, a U.S. Justice Department memo described Angelo Fosco as a “tool of the crime syndicate” who followed orders from “two LCN [La Cosa Nostra] lieutenants” and Chicago Outfit leader Joey Aiuppa, according to Mother Jones magazine.
Angelo Fosco’s father, Peter Fosco, was an immigrant from Italy who became the national laborers president. He also was elected Cook County commissioner and was Democratic boss of the 1st Ward, which was controlled by organized crime for most of the 20th century.
“The rise of the Foscos is not just a story of the Laborers Union,” Mother Jones magazine wrote in 1980. “It is also a story of Chicago, and the oligarchy of corrupt politicians, businessmen, union leaders and mobsters which has run that city for more than 50 years.”
Contributing: Fran Spielman