A political action group is raising questions over the selection of a firm for a multi-million-dollar contract in Illinois.
Illinois Rising Action said Chicago-based Bulley & Andrews scored a taxpayer-funded, firm-fixed contract worth nearly $9 million to convert the former WestLake Hospital in Melrose Park into an acute-care facility for COVID-19. The facility has not been used during the pandemic.
The contracts were issued as part of a $1.7 billion effort spearheaded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which Bulley & Andrews had not worked with since the 1940s, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Illinois Rising Action Executive Director Kayleen Carlson said the governor is familiar with Bully & Andrews.
“This is a contractor who has done personal work for Gov. Pritzker and currently is doing private work for the governor,” Carlson said. “Here in Illinois this is not something that we haven’t seen before. This is kind of politics as usual.”
Carlson pointed to reports that Bulley & Andrews was working across the border on Pritzker’s farm in Wisconsin.
“This reeks of what we’ve seen time and time again and what the people of Illinois are sick and tired of seeing from their leaders in Springfield,” Carlson said.
A request for comment from the governor’s office and Bulley & Andrews went unanswered.
In a report leaked while Pritzker was running for governor, Cook County Inspector General Patrick Blanchard said Pritzker and his wife, Mary Katherine, who goes by MK, saved $331,432 in taxes by removing toilets and kitchen fixtures from the house they bought next door to the Gold Coast mansion they live in.
The report, first obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times, included copies of emails from MK spelling out orders to Bulley & Andrews.
“MK is now getting back into the task of cleaning up 1431 N. Astor,” an email from Bulley & Andrews to a plumbing contractor said. “She is going to have the house reassessed as an uninhabitable structure. To do this, she would like to have us pull all toilets and cap all toilet lines in the house. Then, after the assessment, she would like us to put the first floor toilet back in and have this as the one functioning bathroom in the place.”
After the report was leaked, Pritzker paid the $330,000 back to Cook County, but said he had followed all the rules when he got the tax break.