“An investigation has uncovered fraud and abuse in a Chicago program aimed at helping minority-owned businesses.

The Office of the Inspector General of Chicago found the number of construction contracts for minority and women owned businesses were over reported by the city in 2008. That means minority businesses got $19 million less than what they were supposed to get. The report says that could mean a loss of as much as $400 million since 1995.

The inspector general says fraud, abuse and mismanagement are to blame. Some contracts were falsified through front companies, a company that claims it’s minority or woman owned when it’s really owned by a non-minority male.

The inspector general finds the city has failed to correct the problem despite a lawsuit challenging the program’s constitutionality and several high-profile scandals related to the program. The office says the report is a first step to fixing the problem.”

Inspector General News blog source:  http://www.wbez.org/Content.aspx?audioID=42130