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Clout milk company stays on under new Cook County Jail deal

Updated: May 1, 2013 2:06PM



For years, McMahon Food Corp. delivered milk to the Cook County Jail as a subcontractor for Aramark Correctional Services LLC.

Aramark lost its contract to provide food to the jail last summer. But McMahon Food, a Little Village dairy supplier with deep ties to Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th) and other public officials, is still delivering the jail’s milk.

Only now it does so as a subcontractor for CBM Premier Management LLC, which took over the jail contract in September.

Whoever got the food contract, McMahon Food was covered: It had agreements in place with both Aramark and CBM, the only two companies that bid on the jail deal, says Frank Bilecki, a spokesman for Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart.

CBM spokesman Grayson Mitchell says the company chose McMahon Food because it was “price-competitive and had the capacity to step in and supply [CBM] with the goods it needed.”

McMahon Food is part of a venture that has a $20 million-a-year deal to deliver milk to 600 Chicago schools. The Chicago Sun-Times reported last year that Chicago’s school system was paying more for milk than many smaller suburban school districts.

For years, McMahon Food was certified as a “woman-owned business enterprise,” a designation that helped it win millions of dollars in government contracts. But last year the company pulled out of the recertification process in Cook County amid questions about who controlled the company — Frank McMahon or his daughter Bridget McMahon.

Frank McMahon died Sept. 16. Three months later, on Dec. 10, the county recertified McMahon Food as a woman-owned business, with Bridget McMahon listed as its president. She didn’t return messages seeking comment.



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