Another real real story about Black and BIPOC wealth building in Massachusetts

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They were building the Triple A Red Sox Home Stadium

GBH News reporting led to a 1.9 million dollar settlement with Gilbane / Hunt to resolve allegations that the contractor made false claims about hiring minority and women-owned businesses during the construction of Polar Park, the home of the Triple-A Boston Red Sox Club, the Worcester Red Sox. 

In announcing the settlement today, the attorney general’s office acknowledged that the case first came to their attention through an investigation by the GBH News Center for Investigative Reporting.

I’m in touch to share this update to GBH News’ award-winning series, The Color of Public Money in the hopes that you’ll bring the news to your constituency. 

“The Color of Public Money” has uncovered inequities in how public funds are spent in government contracting, finding that minority-owned businesses–and particularly Black-owned businesses receive a shockingly small portion of contract opportunities from Massachusetts state and local agencies. 

The penalty issued today is a textbook example. In April 2021, as the ballpark prepared to open for the first time, GBH News reported that minority-owned businesses had done less than $1 million worth of work on the $101 million construction project, despite reports from the city and its construction manager Gilbane/Hunt that minority-owned firms had been awarded 4% of the construction contracts.

GBH News requested a list of companies that had received those payments and discovered it was full of inaccuracies. In some cases companies that were categorized as minority-owned were not actually minority-owned. In other cases, minority-owned businesses got paid far less than Gilbane/Hunt took credit for.

The day after the GBH Story was published, Gilbane/Hunt admitted that its initial numbers were inaccurate.

The reporting spurred an investigation by the attorney general’s office, which found that Gilane/Hunt “falsely [stated] in its bid for the Polar Park project that it planned to maximize the participation of women and minority-owned businesses (W/MBEs), and then, once selected to manage the project, misrepresented the status of W/MBE participation to the Worcester Redevelopment Authority until the project was substantially complete,” the office said Thursday.

Gilbane/Hunt accepted the settlement but did not admit wrongdoing.

Thank you for taking a look at this story and for sharing it. 

Sam

Polar Park, the home of the Worcester WooSox baseball team. Photographed on April 6, 2021 in Worcester, Mass. (Credit Meredith Nierman / GBH News)

Sam Brewer, posted by @BLACKBOSTON

GBH Associate Director of External Communications