On Wednesday, April 3rd, CPS signed a $14.2 million dollar contract with Global Workplace Solutions to provide logistical support for the massive school closings. So who exactly is Global Workplace Solutions?
GWS is a part of Johnson Controls, which is a Fortune 100 company that is headquartered in Milwaukee Wisconsin. In 2001, it was part of a deal with the city of New Orleans that the Times-Picayune called one of the most corrupt in New Orleans history, saying “The breadth of the graft and greed alleged in the indictment is breathtaking, even by the standards of a city inured to public corruption,”
The deal eventually triggered a federal investigation that eventually triggered at least a dozen guilty pleas including one to Johnson Control’s project manager Terry Songy. They were accused of having subcontractors deliberately jack up prices and then the guilty parties would pocket the difference.
Johnson Controls played the dupe during the investigation claiming that they were as much a victim as anyone else, but New Orleans didn’t see it that way. They refused to pay their bill for months in 2010. They had good reason to doubt Johnson Controls’ innocence as he case summary also alleges that businessman Robert Tucker and financier Rafael “Ray” Valdes each received $273,000 in fees from Johnson Controls, awarded strictly on the basis of their “influence and perceived influence” with New Orleans’ Mayor, Marc Morial. Valdes worked as a consultant for Johnson Controls at the same time he arranged financing for the city, netting himself a total $2.1 million in fees.
Johnson Controls also has an education division and longstanding ties with the Charter School business including UNO. This is just something else to make it harder to believe that this move has anything to do with helping the school children of Chicago. I would be curious to find out exactly where the extra school supplies wind up after the closings.
I’ll be back this weekend with our normal format. There have been some great articles and editorials written recently, but I just had to share what I learned about the company profiting off of these closings.