City Settles with American Sewer
Embattled firm loses nearly $1 million in work.
The Milwaukee Common Council has approved a settlement agreement between the city and embattled contractor American Sewer Services. The Hartford-based contractor will lose two contracts valued at a combined $891,586. Since 2013 the firm has received approximately $50 million in city contracts.
American Sewer has come under intense scrutiny following the discovery of their employees openly carrying firearms on a job site on November 30th. That scrutiny was amplified after another firm employee was spotted with a cooler bearing stickers representing the Confederate flag and Ku Klux Klan, and further escalated when the firm’s owner Dennis Biondich failed to appear before a city committee.
The council is still likely to subpoena Biondich to appear before a council committee. An additional resolution is held in committee that would begin the process of debarring American Sewer from bidding on city work.
The agreement, negotiated by Public Works Commissioner Ghassan Korban, terminates one contract with $486,318 of work remaining and terminates the bidding process for another contract for sewer relining near N. 45th St. and W. Wells St. where American Sewer was the low bidder at $405,268.
Under terms of the agreement, American Sewer may not contest either of the terminations or contest the city’s rebidding of the contracts.
The agreement was signed by Korban and Biondich on January 11th.
Korban had previously told the Public Works Committee that he analyzed the 11 open contracts the firm has with the city to reach the deal. Five of the seasonal contracts are effectively complete and just awaiting final payment or approval. The remaining six were examined for how much work was left and who was scheduled to do it. Korban noted that since city contracts include provisions that require hiring minority-owned firms and underemployed or unemployed city residents for some of the work, “what is the point of taking work away from people who really weren’t related to these incidents?” Korban added that he also considered whether canceling the work would negatively impact the city.
Korban’s settlement proposal came after Ald. Russell W. Stamper, II introduced a resolution to terminate all of the firm’s contracts. But Stamper supports the compromise measure. “I want to thank the commissioner for understanding, recognizing and realizing the importance of what occurred,” Stamper said.
The second paragraph of the one-page settlement notes “the parties acknowledge certain incidents have taken place in connection with two contracts performed by Contractor for DPW. Contractor has taken steps to mitigate the conduct of its employees in connection with these incidents…”
If you think stories like this are important, become a member of Urban Milwaukee and help support real independent journalism. Plus you get some cool added benefits, all detailed here.
More about the Contractor Gun Debate
- Eyes on Milwaukee: City Releases Contractor Gun Photo - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 5th, 2018
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Another Contractor Caught With Gun - Jeramey Jannene - Jan 30th, 2018
- Eyes on Milwaukee: City Settles with American Sewer - Jeramey Jannene - Jan 17th, 2018
- Eyes on Milwaukee: City Kills Contracts With American Sewer - Jeramey Jannene - Jan 4th, 2018
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Stamper Introduces Bill to Fire American Sewer Services - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 24th, 2017
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Ban On Contractors With Guns Passed - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 19th, 2017
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Embattled Company Leader Absent at Hearing - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 18th, 2017
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Labor Groups Rally Against KKK Supporter - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 12th, 2017
- Sewer contractor to appear before the Steering & Rules Committee to address racist symbols at work-site - City of Milwaukee - Dec 11th, 2017
- Statement from American Sewer Services, Inc. - Press Release - Dec 11th, 2017
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Worker With KKK Cooler Fired - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 11th, 2017
- Alderman Zielinski seeks review of DPW work that has been outsourced - Ald. Tony Zielinski - Dec 11th, 2017
- Eyes on Milwaukee: City Contractor’s Worker Displays KKK Sign - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 8th, 2017
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Donovan Runs Afoul of City Gun Policy - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 7th, 2017
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Ban Contractors From Carrying Guns? - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 6th, 2017
- Alderman Bauman’s bullying of Assistant City Attorney is unacceptable - Ald. Bob Donovan - Dec 6th, 2017