Mayor Jackson's half-baked crackdown

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Good news: Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson has finally decided to punish Anthony Allega Cement Contractor, the white-owned firm accused of being at the center of a massive front-company scam at Hopkins airport. According to a city-hired lawyer, Allega paid black and female-owned companies a small cut of multi-million dollar contracts to do little or no work on the airport construction project ["Black on Black Crime", February 21]. John Allega, the company's president, has denied all the allegations, and is fighting to make sure his company isn't barred from doing city work for two years. But while the two sides fight over procedural issues, Jackson has suspended Allega from doing city work. It's the mayor's way of finally cracking down on front company scams, which have been rampant in the city for more than a decade. "They've said it was the law before, but nobody enforced it," Jackson told the Plain Dealer. "We're enforcing it now." Of course, this being Cleveland, this is a crackdown in name only. Bradley Construction, the largest black subcontractor on the airport job, was also in on the scam. But for reasons unexplained, it remains on the city's list of approved minority firms, meaning black workers will continue to be screwed out of construction jobs. -- Lisa Rab

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