A construction company owner has been indicted for allegedly fraudulently obtaining Chicago Housing Authority contracts. The owner obtained contracts worth more than $2.75 million designed to benefit minority-owned businesses. Lester Coleman owned Coleman Development Corp. The company is a based construction company and a certified minority-owned business.
According to the indictment returned Tuesday in U.S District Court in Chicago, Coleman, from 2010 to 2018, falsely represented to the CHA that his company would perform construction work sufficient to satisfy the agency’s minority-owned business requirements. The requirements mandated that minority or women-owned enterprises should perform a certain percentage of work on CHA properties.
The indictment states that Coleman had given that work to a company that was not certified as a minority-owned business. The indictment also states that Coleman had obtained more than $2.75 million in payments from the agency’s contracts. The contracts also included construction or rehab on properties in the Chicago neighborhoods of West Ridge, North Park, Albany Park, Archer Heights, and Oakland.
The charges also allege that Coleman had falsely represented and certified to the CHA that prevailing wages were paid to thru employees performing the work, mandated by federal labor law, but they were not paid. The indictment charges Coleman with three counts of wire fraud.
John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Elissa Rhee-Lee, Inspector General of the CHA; Brad Geary, Special Agent-in-Charge of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Inspector General in Chicago; and Irene Lindow, Special Agent-in-Charge of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General in Chicago announced the indictment. Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Heinz represented the government.