January 30, 2001

Chicago Sun-Times

Heavy hitters flock to project

January 30, 2001

BY FRAN SPIELMAN CITY HALL REPORTER

Four clout-heavy development teams are vying to build the first of two new terminals at O'Hare Airport in a $1.42 billion competition for the biggest single contract ever awarded by City Hall.

"The process is an open bidding process. There's no favoritism or any of those kinds of things that enter into it," chief procurement officer David Malone said on Monday.

"The fact that there are players that are familiar to us will not stop us from looking at the situation as diligently and fairly as we possibly can. The beauty of it is that it's such a complex project, the winner will ultimately have to have the right answer for the . . . needs of the city. That's really the key evaluation criteria."

With the stakes so high, it's not surprising that the joint ventures involved in the sweepstakes have lined up politically connected lobbyists to boost their chances.

Instead of waiting for the news media to raise the curtain on clout, the Daley administration decided to hold a news conference to announce the lobbyists:

* Former mayoral chiefs-of-staff John Satalic and Roger Kiley, both partners in the law firm of Mayer Brown & Platt that once employed William Daley, the mayor's brother. Satalic and Kiley will represent Orchard Field Design Builders Partners. It's a joint venture that includes: Walsh Construction, McHugh Construction, Kenny Construction, HNTB, Lohan Associates, Mota Construction, Riteway Construction, II in One Contractors and Broadway Consolidated Companies.

* Victor Reyes, the mayor's former intergovernmental affairs director and now a partner at the law firm of Greenberg Traurig. Reyes will represent T-6 Partners, a joint venture that includes: Bechtel Infrastructure Corp.; AMEC Construction Management Inc.; d'Escoto Inc., the construction management firm owned by the father of Transportation Commissioner Miguel d'Escoto; UBM Inc.; Cotter Consulting Inc., and architects from DeStefano and Partners, Gensler and OWP&P.;

* Former RTA board member, City Hall chief-of-staff and American Airlines lobbyist William Griffin in a team that includes Democratic fund-raiser Jay Doherty of the Haymarket Group. Griffin and Doherty will lobby on behalf of T-6 Gateway Partners. It's a joint venture that includes: Fluor Daniel, the contractor that built Chicago's 911 emergency center; Louis Jones Enterprises; Cotter Consulting Inc.; HOK and d'Escoto Inc.

* Orchard Associates LLC, lobbyists unknown. The joint venture includes: Clark Construction Group Inc., Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, Parsons Brinkerhoff, the Chicago Urban League, Rise Group and Cotter Consulting Inc.

The city's ethics ordinance prohibits former city officials from ever lobbying or doing work on contracts where they had direct contract oversight while at City Hall.

A one-year waiting period applies only if the contract involves matters on which the former government official was "substantially and personally involved" while at City Hall.

Although Reyes served for nearly six years as Daley's government and political enforcer, the one-year rule apparently does not apply to him, officials said.

Reyes could not be reached for comment.

The winning team will be asked to design and build a 550,000-square-foot terminal next to the International Terminal at O'Hare.

The project also includes an extension of the O'Hare people mover system, improvements to the airport's roads, and construction of a temporary terminal extension, an aircraft apron strip, a pedestrian bridge and a staging area for snow removal.

The contract is expected to be awarded next month.

[Chicago ATC News]