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City wants firm with checkered past to build controversial $85M police and fire academy

AECOM CEO Michael Burke (Credit: Business Wire and Chicago Infrastructure)

Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants to hire AECOM to build the controversial police and fire training academy on the West Side, despite the firm’s somewhat checkered track record.

The mayor introduced a measure this week to award AECOM the contract for the $85 million project, which has drawn opposition from a number of activists and mayoral candidates who say the money should be spent elsewhere, according to the Chicago Reporter.

Los Angeles-based AECOM has done work on a number of Chicago projects, including the O’Hare Airport modernization, and the Department of Fleet and Facility Management’s new headquarters in Englewood.

But it has also faced allegations of overbilling, providing false invoices and substandard work, and has paid out at least $285 million in the past four years alone to resolve allegations of wrongdoing, according to the Reporter.

AECOM subsidiary Tishman was charged by federal prosecutors in New York for fraudulently billing clients on construction projects for more than a decade, including work done on One World Trade Center and the Plaza Hotel.

A mayoral spokesperson said AECOM was considered the “most qualified” candidate after a year-long proposal process. The contract still needs to be approved by the City Council. [Chicago Reporter]John O’Brien

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