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January 2011: Not guilty pleas in alleged city sewer scheme

Story originally published on Jan. 19, 2011

Two former businesses partners of Mayor Daley’s son and nephew pleaded not guilty Wednesday to federal mail fraud charges over a minority-contracting scheme in which a company partly owned by the mayor’s relatives ended up doing the work.

Daley’s son, Patrick, and his nephew Robert Vanecko have not been charged in the scheme that led to the Jan. 6 indictments of their former business partners, Anthony Duffy and Jesse Brunt.

Under the alleged scheme, City Hall decided that it wanted a minority-owned company to clean and inspect all sewers south of 63rd Street, and awarded the multimillion dollar contract to Brunt Bros. Transfer, a minority-owned trucking company owned by Brunt, 74, of Chicago. Brunt allegedly lacked the equipment to do the work that was subcontracted to Municipal Sewer Services, a company created by Duffy, 46, of Bartlett.

Duffy had four partners: Robert Bobb Jr. and Joseph McInerney, who operated a venture capital company called Cardinal Growth, as well as the mayor’s son and nephew. But the ownership stake held by the mayor’s son and nephew had never been disclosed on any documents the company filed with City Hall. Their ownership stake was uncovered by the Chicago Sun-Times in December 2007, which led to the indictments against Brunt and Duffy.

Duffy’s attorney, John Mayer, said the case involves “a roomful of documents” that federal prosecutors had gathered over the past three years. No trial date has been set.

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