No Deal For $3 Billion O’Hare Bond Until More Black Representation, Says Chicago Black Caucus

September 13, 2016  |  

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A new $3 billion deal at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport may not go through if more Blacks are not hired. According to ABC News 7 Chicago, “A $3 billion bond deal for O’Hare Airport failed to get out of a city council finance committee on Friday after being blocked by members of the Black caucus.” Latino and progressive colleagues joined in support of the committee’s opposition.

Black aldermen on the city council’s finance committee are upset over “the lack of African-American firms handling the deal and the number of minority workers at O’Hare.” So Black council members voted “no.” And the Black caucus is taking further action, first with Chapman & Cutler law firm which Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants to manage the bond transaction. “Your firm has historically denied African Americans partnership at the firm, that is your history,” said Alderman Leslie Hairston.

“Attorney William Corbin from Chapman & Cutler confirmed that they did have an African-American attorney working on the transaction, but he could not name that one attorney,” reported ABC. To this, Hairston said, “It is inexcusable that you could come here and not know the one.”

Alderman Roderick Sawyer, a Black caucus member, added that under the deal, “We’re getting less than the representative percentages to African-American firms who are capable of doing the work.”

And while the Black caucus members have upset what was expected to be a routine approval, the diversity fight over O’hare is nothing new. “Black and Latino aldermen have complained for decades about the small number of aviation-related business given to minority firms,” reported ABC.

“This is a diverse city. You need to consciously reflect the city if you want to get city business,” pointed out Alderman Walter Burnett.

The population of Chicago is a least one-third African-American.

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