Suspended company still completes work in Elgin

 
 
Updated 9/22/2011 11:12 AM

Missouri-based Insituform Technologies is the first contractor the City of Elgin has suspended since it started auditing for immigration compliance in 2008.

But just last week, the pipeline rehabilitation company was in Elgin lining pipes on Sept. 15 and 16, according to Todd O'Donoghue, the general counsel for Insituform in North America -- a fact confirmed by Elgin officials.

 

Based on documents received through a Freedom of Information Act request, eight Insituform employees who worked on a sewer lining project in 2010 did not have complete I-9 paperwork, which proves employment eligibility. Because the company did not respond and clear up the paperwork discrepancies during an audit, it officially was suspended from doing work for the city from May 1, 2011, until April 30, 2012.

Although the suspension is supposed to apply to Insituform for any type of city work, O'Donoghue said the company worked as a subcontractor for Bolder Contractors -- the company awarded almost $4.8 million to do the Lord Street Basin Sewer Separation Project. City Councilman John Prigge has made company audits like this one a high priority since being elected in 2009. He said conducting random audits should pressure contractors to keep their employment records intact and keep ineligible employees out of Elgin jobs.

"I want to make sure that the citizens' dollars are going to go to companies that are in compliance with our rules," Prigge said.

The audit came almost a year after Insituform completed its work, and was consistent with audits of three other companies Elgin contracted with in 2010, according to Elgin Corporation Counsel William Cogley.

Prigge said an administrative internal error allowed Insituform to perform work as a subcontractor but the suspension is still in place and will be upheld moving forward. An investigation into how the error was made is ongoing.

O'Donoghue said Insituform uses E-verify and could not confirm why the company did not respond to Cogley's information requests during the audit. He said he had not been made aware of the suspension.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

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