Did Inglewood’s Mayor have a Finger in the $100 Million Trash Hauling Cooking Jar?
- Kim Christensen
NEIGHBORHOOD POLITICS--When Inglewood's city council approved a $100-million waste-collection contract in 2012, the job went not to the low bidder but to another company with higher fees — and a link to Mayor James Butts Jr.
Consolidated Disposal Services landed the 10-year contract that June, about three months after it hired the mayor's brother, Michael Butts, as a $72,000-a-year operations manager.
The timing was no coincidence, according to a previously undisclosed complaint filed that year with the Los Angeles County district attorney's office. The complaint alleged that "as a condition for his support," the mayor asked bidders to hire his unemployed brother.
One of the bidders confirmed that account.
"I don't remember the exact language, but the context was, 'It would be favorable for you if you could find my brother a job,'" Gary Clifford, executive vice president at Athens Services, the low bidder, said in an interview.
"Put it this way," Clifford said. "We didn't hire his brother, and we didn't get the contract. The company that hired his brother got the contract. And they were $10 million more than us."
The deal was not only lucrative for Consolidated Disposal Services, but consequential for Inglewood residents and businesses: Their refuse-collection rates are tied to the agreement for a decade, with more than four years to go.
Mayor Butts denied he asked any of the bidders to hire his brother and abstained from the final vote on the contract. (Read the rest.)