Cleveland May Bar Airport Contractors from All Future City Work

Three companies accused in a front-company scheme during Cleveland's airport expansion should be forever banned from getting city contracts, a city councilman said Monday.

Councilman Mike Dolan said he plans to introduce legislation next week that would permanently bar city work from going to Anthony Allega Cement Contractor, and two other companies that served as Allega subcontractors.

Dolan criticized the administration of Mayor Frank Jackson for recommending that Allega receive no city contracts for just two years.

"I think it is tremendously weak," he said in a Monday afternoon interview. "Two years is not near long enough. It should be permanent."

Two recent reports - one by the city and one by an independent investigator hired by the city - found that Allega, a white-owned company, used female- and minority-owned businesses as front companies for the $500 million runway construction project at the airport.

The reports say Chem-Ty Environmental and RMC got paid for work they did not do for Allega. The practice skirts the city's requirement that a chunk of business from projects which receive city money be set aside for female- and minority-owned businesses.

In addition, the city report found that Chem-Ty kicked back money to Allega and Nate Gray, the best friend of then-Mayor Michael R. White.

Gray is serving a 15-year prison sentence for paying bribes to public officials in exchange for other contracts.

John Allega, who runs the Allega cement company, could not be reached on Monday.

Last month, Mayor Frank Jackson's administration recommended Cleveland ban Allega from city work for two years and require the company to pay the city money that would have gone to the female and minority contractors had they done the work.

Law Director Robert Triozzi has said he's not certain how much that would be, but based on the city's report, the figure could be millions of dollars.

Rick Horvath, the city's chief counsel, said he is looking into Dolan's request to draft the legislation.

City Council President Martin J. Sweeney said Monday afternoon that he had not yet met with Dolan to discuss the proposed law.

"I'd like to understand what he's talking about," Sweeney said. "We'll make a decision after that."

Dolan said one of Sweeney's legislative assistants told him Monday morning that Sweeney didn't support the introduction of the legislation.

Sweeney said: "Every council member has a right to introduce legislation."

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