DeKalb, IL. - NIU - (ECWd) -
DeKalb Sanitary Board and Tim Struthers have conflicts with Steve Irving of Irving Construction.
This is the second article about issues at the DeKalb Sanitary District (DSD) and newly appointed NIU Board of Trustees Member Timothy Struthers (previous article). In a previous series of articles here and here we pointed out that Tim Struthers was the leading force in a conflict of interest laden partnership called College Town Partners, LLC. In this partnership, Steve Irving of Irving Construction, was connected directly to the NIU Foundation and the City of DeKalb. Mr. Irving is also a member of the City of DeKalb Construction Appeals Commission and is often the go to guy for no-bid contracts (NIU Bus cutout).
In the August 2013 meeting of the DeKalb Sanitary District (Board minutes), Irving was granted a contract for $30,000 for a “BioDisc” project. The minutes says that Mr. Irving's company was a low bidder. We did a search of the available minutes for the DSD and found only one contract since 2010 for Mr. Irving. We also checked Mr. Irving's website and found no claim for expertise in wastewater treatment. Why is this contract interesting? Because Mr. Irving was working with Mr. Struthers in a public-private partnership with the City of DeKalb, called DeKalb 2020, LLC . (Additionally the $30,000 contract was amended for additional work as shown here (Board minutes):
“Irving Construction has been authorized to provide the additional work on the Biodisc Structural Rehabilitation project for the amount of $11,046.00. This work is in regards to replacing supports for walkway grating.”
So a contract initially worth $30,000 is now worth $41,046. Would a competent bidder had included that in their initial bid? The DSD is now planning a $48,000,000 upgrade. Is this Mr. Irving's foot in the door for that project?
Curiously, the two board members (Tim Struthers and Dee Collins) and the District's Lawyer (Keith Foster) have had their office buildings built by Irving Construction (Irving Const. Clients) and (Irving Const. Bio). Additionally, Irving has worked for the NIU Foundation (which Mr Struthers is a board member ) of which Mr. Irving is a donor.
It is a fair question to ask if this is a pay to play type of situation with so many conflicts.