(2) Prince Georges County, MD:
70 stadium contracts to non-white firms

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White Contractors Excluded from $50 million
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Black County Mafiosi Steer Contracts to Friends
Web Posted 07/10/00

          The tale of the construction of the new Redskins football stadium is an all-too-familiar tale of corruption, greed, and racial politics which seem to surround a great many racial set-aside contract deals.  Prince Georges County, Maryland, neighbor to Washington, DC, exemplifies the shady dealings, cronyism, and corruption which are part of most government racial set-aside projects. Wayne K. Curry, first black county executive in Prince Georges County, awards stadium contracts to black friends.

          Prince Georges County's first black county executive, Wayne K. Curry, seized upon the controversial federal and state racial set-aside goals, and proceeded to dole out substantial stadium contracts to his black friends and political contributors.

          Beginning in 1996, 70 minority firms (many black) were given racial set-aside contracts to work on the Washington Redskins stadium in Prince Georges County.  Many standard accounting and review practices were short-circuited or eliminated altogether.  A number of the largest minority contracts went to minorities who had made, and continued to make, substantial financial contributions to Wayne Curry's political campaign.  Some of the favored minority contractors didn't even know how to complete an invoice for the work they allegedly performed.

          On Sunday, July 9, 2000, the Washington Post broke this story after many months of investigation.

Ingredients of Prince Georges County Racial-Favorism:

  • Prince Georges county executive Wayne K. Curry assumed the office in 1994, and is the first black man to hold the job.  His campaign featured a great deal of pro-minority rhetoric.
  • Prince Georges County, MD, is one of the wealthiest majority-black counties in the nation.  Politically, the citizens vote heavily for the Democratic Party.  The wealth of Prince Georges County's black citizens has resulted largely from federal and state racial-quota regulations.
  • A lucrative $260 million football stadium project -- the Washington Redskins stadium, formerly known as Jack Kent Cooke Stadium, currently known as FedEx field. County executive Curry used a variety of questionable methods to make good on his promise to steer $50 million worth of stadium work to his friends and other firms of the "correct" skin color.
  • The State of Maryland is dominated by a liberal Democratic governor, Parris Glendenning, who professes a strong belief in racial politics and minority set-asides.  Governor Glendenning formerly held the post of Prince Georges County Executive, and Wayne Curry was his immediate successor.  The Maryland state legislature is dominated by liberal Democrats and a large number of black legislative activists who have repeatedly made public statements about the preferred position they think blacks should have in all state and county-level contracting decisions.  (Historically, the State of Maryland has a reputation for Democratic Party Machine Politics second perhaps only to that of Chicago, Illinois.)  
  • The county is adjacent to Washington, DC which is the national nexus of racial politics and race-based contract set-asides.

Other Major Players in the Prince Georges Stadium Scandal:

William D. Miller II:  Not to put too fine a point on it, but Miller served as county executive Wayne Curry’s bagman and enforcer, and is also black.  Miller is a former inspector general at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and is thus well-schooled in the politics of racial quotas and set-asides.  As it happens, Miller is also a neighbor of Curry’s in an exclusive Prince Georges development called "The Reserve".   Curry and Miller are buddies from their law school days.

          One of Miller’s assignments was to make sure that four minority firms in particular reaped huge benefits from the Redskins stadium construction.  These firms’ owners, it turns out, were heavy financial contributors to Mr. Curry’s political campaign fund.  Like Miller, the owner of one of the favored firms is also a neighbor of Curry's in the exclusive "Reserve" enclave.  (Footnote:  After completion of the stadium, Miller resigned and went to work as a freelance consultant for the county in Jan. 1999 for a tidy $525,000 contract.)

Duane W. Oates, minority businessman:   Oates is owner of Global Supply, a janitorial firm, and later also owner of Vertx LLC.  Both of Oates' minority-owned firms received the double-benefit of the racial set-asides and Wayne Curry's gratitude for past and future campaign contributions.   Oates's business philosophy for dealing with Curry is cited by the Washington Post as "You have to give to get."

          Thus, while Oates’ companies received over $3 million in contracts, Oates has also raised over $500,000 for Curry and his political allies.  Additionally, Oates, his family, and his relatives have personally given over $17,000 directly to Curry’s campaign coffers during stadium construction.

          It is hard to avoid the appearance of mutual payoffs between Oates and county executive Curry.

          For example, in the spring of 1996 county executive Curry appointed Oates to the board of the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission.  This represented a very significant perk for Oates: As a commissioner, Duane Oates had enormous power over the permitting process for all major construction projects in the county who needed water and sewer connections. Oates made many influential contacts in the local construction industry as a commissioner for the WSSC, and he was in a position to extract favors and concessions from construction firms across the county. (The WSSC commissioner's job also pays $13,000 per year.)

Vesharn Scales, minority businessman:   Scales is owner of MTI Construction, and is a big financial contributor to Curry's political fund.  For example, in 1994 Scales’ MTI Construction company bought a $10,000 box at the Upper Marlboro equestrian center for Curry and his cronies to celebrate Curry’s inauguration. 

          During the course of the Redskins stadium project, MTI earned at least $1.9 million in road construction and storm-drain work relating to stadium construction.  Additionally, since 1994 when Wayne Curry took office as the County Executive, Scales’ MTI construction has won an additional $10 million in county contracts exclusive of the stadium work.

          Scales' company was not even located in Prince Georges County, according to the Post.  MTI is a paving company that was based in the District of Columbia during stadium construction.  A highly qualified local paving company in Prince Georges with an asphalt plant near the stadium was excluded from participation.

Richard E. Shields, minority businessman:   Shields just happens to live next door to county executive Wayne Curry in the exclusive "Reserve" neighborhood.  Shields is a retired federal security specialist.  Shields formed a company named Shields Protective Services (now called Resco Security), and received a $280,000 contract to perform security services at the Redskins stadium construction site.  Without commenting on Shields' competence, the Post reports that subsequently construction officials felt it necessary to hire a second security company to patrol the site.

Pass-Throughs and Laundering Construction Supplies:

          Oates' company, Global Supply, functioned in many cases as a "pass-through" company, inserting itself as a middleman -- buying materials then turning around and selling them to the "real" construction contractors on the project.

          The Post cited on example in which Global Supply obtained a $134,443 contract as the drywall source for the C.J. Coakley company which was performing work on the stadium.  Global Supply simply bought the drywall from the same supplier as Coakley had previously used.  Construction officials, mindful of the racial quotas on the job, had urged Coakley to buy their drywall through Global simply to improve their minority quotas.  (They called them "minority participation goals".)

          On another occasion, Global was handed a $651,000 contract to supply window glass to a bona fide construction firm on the project, TSI/Exterior Wall Systems. 

          The Washington Post writes:   "Gary E. Evans, vice president of TSI/Exterior Wall Systems, was at a loss to explain why Global Supply was listed in the reports.  "I don't know the company. I've never heard of them," Evans said. "We had to design a window that had never been built before. We did everything out there on that job."

          The "laundering" of the glass purchase through Global helped the stadium project meet its minority participation goals.

Other Background:

          Amazingly, the Washington Post reports that the Redskins Stadium deal is now considered to be a model for employing minority-owned companies on economic development projects across the country.

          County Executive Wayne K. Curry’s apparent efforts to reward his black friends with stadium contracts and influential appointments escaped public scrutiny in large part because Curry shrewdly never instituted the legally required "minority business oversight board" in Prince Georges County.

          Curry’s favor-granting resulted in the exclusion of many bona fide, local Prince George's companies with successful track records (real construction experience) which firms theoretically would have been given contracts if Curry’s promise of awarding stadium work to local county firms was to be realized.

          Clearly county executive Wayne K. Curry fully exploited federal and state racial-quota rules requiring that government funded projects employ anywhere from 12% to 25% minority firms (persons of the correct skin color).  Like bureaucrats everywhere, Curry lorded this power over the serfs and peasants who depended upon the county government for "fair" review and approval of permits on the project.  Curry could easily speed up or delay necessary construction and occupancy permits.

         Curry's enforcer, William Miller, allegedly made it known to all participants in the Redskins stadium project that failure to meet minority hiring quotas, and especially failure to hire the minority firms owned by friends of county executive Wayne K. Curry, would result in costly delays in the granting of permits.

          In its July 9, 2000 expose, the Washington Post reports that, according to an advisor to Jack Kent Cooke during construction of the Redskins stadium, "From the moment we began the [stadium] project, we were squeezed by the [county] government at all levels. We were subjected at every stage and with almost every permit to pressure. If we did not [do what was asked], we were faced with the unthinkable prospect of not opening" on time.

          Adversity.Net anxiously awaits the results of the vigorous federal and state investigation and subsequent prosecution of the corruption and racial favors which appear to have been routinely granted in the construction of the Redskins stadium (aka, Jack Kent Cooke Stadium, aka FedEx Field). 

          But we are not holding our breath.  -- Editor.

          (Based on the Washington Post, 07/09/00, "Favorites Won Stadium Jobs", page A01, by David S. Fallis and Scott Wilson)
[link http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/metro/md/princegeorges/A7028-2000Jul8.html ]

Additional reading on this topic:

Page (1) Prince Georges: Overview of Racial and Political Favoritism (07/09/00)

Page (3) Prince Georges: Political Donors, Allies Rewarded with Contracts (07/23/00)

Page (4) Prince Georges: Term Limits are Racist?  (10/24/00)

END (2) Prince Georges: Race-Based Stadium Deal

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(1) Prince Georges County, MD:

(2) Prince Georges:
Race-Based Stadium Deal
(3) Prince Georges:
Political Donors,
Allies Rewarded
(4) Prince Georges: Term Limits are Racist?
CITY Contracting
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