State Takes Major Milestone in Minority Building, But Questions of Fraud Persist | Local news

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• Companies that try but fail to find minority contractors on construction projects can apply for a waiver for their projects. Over the past decade, waivers have grown from around 200 in 2012 to over 1,200 in 2020.

Waivers, breaches, and damages have all declined this year. When asked if this was due to the Covid-19 pandemic and its effects on the construction industry, a spokesperson for Empire State Development instead attributed the drop to the training of construction agencies. State and an increase in the number of certified MWBEs.

In the 1980s, The News uncovered a minority outsourcing plan on Buffalo’s light rail system that led to federal charges. In this case, Onyx Construction and Equipment Corp., which presented itself as a minority contractor, was awarded a contract to build a metro. But Onyx was really created by a white man who was a high ranking member of a union linked to the Buffalo Mafia.

“This is one of the programs that we have to constantly try to change because there are always people trying to massage it or change it for their own good,” State Senator Sean M. Ryan said. , D-Buffalo.

Today, Ryan said, the most common form of fraud involves what the Inspector General said happened on the Buffalo Billion projects, where minority and women-owned businesses appeared on paper to carry out a significant amount of work on the $ 750 million Tesla plant in the south. Buffalo and two multi-million dollar projects on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. But according to official documents, the work was actually done by companies owned by white men.