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Wal-Mart Contractor Goes Bankrupt

By Sean Stillmaker in News on Apr 10, 2011 8:00PM

Photo by code poet

Margaret Garner was paraded across the country by Wal-Mart as its first Black female general contractor to build a supercenter. She was also the contractor for the City of Chicago’s first Wal-Mart location. Six years later her company is bankrupt due to the cost overruns, Crain's reports.

Wal-Mart is used to building on top of cushy, spacious suburban land. Their Austin location was on top of a hair-care products factory. Over 40,000 cubic yards of hazardous materials and buried concrete structures had to be removed, costing $4 million.

Overall, the projected 30-week completion took 63 weeks. A $17.8 million projected price dwarfed to a $27.8 million bill. Subcontractors who performed the work were not paid in full, forcing them to file liens against Wal-Mart. There were 19 subcontractors filing liens totaling $4.4 million - 16 percent of the project’s total cost.

Of the angered suing subcontractors, only two were minority owned. Chicago has a policy where 24 percent of contracts go to minority-owned and 4 percent go to women-owned firms. In many instances these minority and women owned firms will obtain the contract, sub-contract them out to other firms and just collect a paycheck, which occurred at the Wal-Mart supercenter construction.

Garner is out of the running to build the next Wal-Mart stores, but there will be plenty of work for others with Wal-Mart’s recent unveiling of six more locations.