August 16, 2011 09:53 AM
CPS Gets Hands Dirty Employing Reputed Mob Company
The BGA and FOX Chicago found D&P Construction equipment on school construction sites throughout the city, including South Shore High School and the old Medill Elementary School.
By Robert Herguth/BGA, and Dane Placko/FOX Chicago
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CHICAGO—It's construction season for Chicago Public Schools. And if kids want a real lesson in how Chicago works, they should visit their schoolyards now, where they'll find dumpsters and equipment from one of the city's most visible mob-connected companies: D & P Construction.
Two years ago, FOX Chicago News and the Better Government Association exposed how suburban governments are spending millions of taxpayer dollars on D & P Construction. On paper, the company is owned by Josephine DiFronzo, but when we watched D & P Construction's office in Melrose Park, we never saw her. We did see her husband, Peter DiFronzo (reputedly a made member of the Chicago Outfit) and his brother Joseph DiFronzo, who recently served time in federal prison for running a massive indoor pot-growing operation. We also saw their older brother, John "No-Nose" DiFronzo, who has been identified by mob watchers as the Chicago Outfit's top boss.
Ten years ago, the Illinois Gaming Board denied a casino license in Rosemont, in part because D & P dumpsters were showing up on the proposed site.
Yet with all that public scrutiny, we were surprised to find D & P Dumpsters popping up on school construction sites throughout the city, including South Shore High School and the old Medill Elementary School.
"It doesn't send a very good message to half a million public school students to have mobbed-up companies providing services on school grounds," said BGA Executive Director Andy Shaw.
We also found D & P dumpsters at the massive harbor construction site at 31st Street -- a project headed by the Chicago Park District and Public Building Commission.
One contractor we talked with said they use D & P because they provide good services at competitive prices.
But when taxpayer dollars are being used, is that enough?
"It's important to get the lowest bidder. It's important to get companies that can get the job done. But it's also important to consider the ethics and morality of hiring companies with known mob connections," Shaw said.