Monday, March 30, 2009

Mine reclamation tells minorities to (metaphorically) pound rocks

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2009 at 8:01 AM

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I wrote recently about J.E. Dunn Construction's questionable commitment to hiring minority subcontractors. Last December, the city's Human Relations Department determined that a minority electrician Dunn listed as a sub on the H&R Block headquarters did not actually perform the work.

Dunn, at least, attempted to appear to comply with the policy, which is more than a site development company can say.

In 2000, the Tax-Increment Financing Commission approved subsidies for Damon Pursell Construction, of Liberty, to stabilize and develop an old mine near 87th Street and Interstate 435. The plan calls for Pursell to build office, retail and warehouse space at the site.

At year's end, Pursell was supposed to have awarded $15 million in construction contracts to minorities and women. Actual number: zero.

Pursell's record of inaction came up at a February TIF Commission meeting. "They're still spending dollars, they're still working and they're not complying," Sandra Rayford, the TIF Commission's affirmative-action compliance officer, said.

At a TIF Commission meeting earlier this month, Rayford said Pursell had yet to rectify the situation. "It's been in trouble, stays in trouble," she said.

Joe Gonzales, the TIF Commission's executive director, said the company was still in the process of getting rock out of the mine. He optimistically noted the amount of work yet to completed.

Does Pursell have a plan for diversifying its supplier force? Beats me. Mike Pursell, the company president, did not return phone calls. His lawyer, Taylor Fields, did not respond to an e-mail. 

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