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Mark One's status then became a bit of a mess. After Sachs' ruling, the city dropped Mark One from its directory of minority- and woman-owned businesses. Mark One sued, arguing that Sachs had not barred the company from seeking classification as a general contractor.
Pending further review, the city put Mark One back in the directory. On September 27, 2005, the city certified Mark One as a "women's business enterprise" (WBE) in some areas but, because of its size, denied WBE status for Mark One in others.
Mark One finally dropped the suit on February 23, 2006, after coming to an agreement with Dean's successor, Phillip Yelder, the current head of the Human Relations Division.
Yelder objected to the term "agreement" when I asked last week for more information. "The City does not broker or negotiate certification with MBE/WBE companies," he told me in an e-mail. "The city certified Mark One based upon their area of eligibility, which was for general construction utility work."
But negotiating is precisely what occurred, according to documents in the case file.
On January 4, 2006, Mark One's lawyer, Steve Miller, wrote an e-mail to an assistant city attorney stating that Privitera Biondo said she had received a "verbal commitment" from Yelder to grant certification in two additional areas. In exchange, Privitera Biondo agreed to drop the case.
A year later, Mark One entered into its first contract to perform electrical work at the stadiums. Mark One became a subcontractor for the Taylor Kelly Construction Company, doing $250,258 worth of work. That amount counts toward the project's WBE goal, as have all subsequent Mark One contracts.
But has Mark One's work matched its WBE classifications? Seems hard to believe.
According to the city directory of minority- and woman-owned businesses, Mark One qualifies as a WBE in six areas of work. Four of those areas look like the jobs that a general contractor does: new multifamily housing construction, for instance. The remaining two areas are "power line stringing" and "electric power transmission line and tower construction" — the work of a specialty contractor.
Perhaps more revealing is the list of specialties that Mark One is not certified to perform as a WBE. These include "electric contracting," "cable splicing" and "electronic control installation and service."
I'm no expert in construction. But I can read.
Monthly reports summarize the participation of minority- and woman-owned businesses at the stadiums. The Kauffman Stadium report indicates that Mark One did "Elec Cont" work for Taylor Kelly.
But Mark One isn't a certified WBE provider of "electric contracting." It's supposed to be outside, stringing power lines and building towers.
In short, Mark One appears to be doing the work of a specialty contractor while its WBE status qualifies it for something else.
I'm left to reach my own conclusions because the people in charge apparently don't want to help me understand how Mark One's deal is legit.
Privitera Biondo did not respond to messages.
Gayle Holliday has a $320,000 contract to monitor the participation of minority- and woman-owned businesses at the stadiums, but she seems disinclined to do any investigating.
Holliday responded to my initial request for specifics about Mark One's work at the stadiums by telling me to look at the city's directory of woman- and minority-owned businesses.
I countered with an e-mail suggesting that Mark One's certified areas didn't seem like the kind of work required at the stadiums.