One member of the school board is raising flags about the company recommended to handle the demolition of two former DPS sites after finding the company has past corruption issues.

DPS planned to hire contractor, then found past corruption case

McManus calls it “embarrassing;” says he found $1.1 million settlement via simple Google search

A contractor recommended by Dayton Public Schools administration to do demolition work may be rejected after a school board member pointed out a past corruption issue with the contractor and urged DPS to be more careful.

The contract, which was not scheduled for vote until the July 30 business meeting, called for DPS to pay $100,500 to Gilbane Building Company for “pre-construction and design phase services” to demolish the shuttered U.S. Grant and Valerie school buildings.

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School board member John McManus on Tuesday objected to the contract, pointing out a large settlement paid by Gilbane, a Rhode Island-headquartered company with offices in Columbus and Cleveland.

In 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Gilbane would pay $1.1 million to resolve allegations that one of its related companies created a “front company,” falsely positioning itself as a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business, to win a federal Coast Guard contract.

The issue comes just as the city of Dayton is reeling from federal indictments, one in a related area, as a now-fired city employee allegedly accepted bribes and improperly handled issues involving minority and other “set-aside” contracts.

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McManus had recently urged the district to be careful on contracts in the demolition area, given the unrelated indictments in city government.

“If nobody looked at this, if nobody saw anything … (I did) a simple Google search,” McManus said. “I would hope we’re doing a better job than this. This is very embarrassing.”

Associate Superintendent Shelia Burton called purchasing department employees during Tuesday night’s meeting and reported back that Gilbane had been recommended to DPS via E&I Cooperative Services, a company school districts use to find qualified contractors.

Burton said DPS officials would get all of the documents E&I provided about Gilbane and report back to the board about why district administrators recommended them for the contract based on that information.

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McManus said either someone at E&I or someone at DPS had not done their due diligence, and again called on school officials to do their own research in the area of demolition, given the ongoing federal investigation in Dayton.

Board member Karen Wick-Gagnet said the issue points to the importance of complete follow-through.

“We’re probably going to have to be even more vigilant about these types of things,” she said. “I don’t think there was intentional wrongdoing, but this is definitely a reminder of the duties and responsibilities we have to make sure that contractors doing our work are doing it for the right reasons and are doing the right thing.”

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