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Park District Sued Over Cleaning Contract

By Kevin Robinson in News on Mar 18, 2009 4:40PM

Photo by Michael DaKidd
In a lawsuit that should come as a surprise to nobody, the Chicago Park District is being sued for switching Soldier Field's cleaning contract to a company that is owned by one of Mayor Daley's biggest fundraisers.

Yvonne McGinnis, owner of We're Cleaning, has held the city custodial contract for over 15 years, but lost the lucrative deal when the Park District switched to East Lake Management Services Corp. McGinnis alleges that the switch was engineered to reward East Lake's owner, Elzie Higgenbottom, who is one of Daley's top fundraisers in the black community. McGinnis, who is also African-American, claims that Park District Supt. Timothy Mitchell conspired with stadium management company SMG to "violate minority hiring requirements." We're Cleaning was also the low bidder on the contract. "Elzie had just lost his contract at Midway Airport, and it was time to give him more work," McGinnis charged in court filings. "Where was there a bid to do that? Soldier Field. But his company didn't have [minority certification] . . . You have to think there was something else going on here." The suit, which was filed in Cook County court earlier this week, contends that East Lake got the contract "not for its performance...but as a political perquisite for past fund raising services."