Milwaukee Common Council terminated contracts worth $800,000 with American Sewer Services whose workers were filmed at a city job site displaying KKK gear and firearms.
According to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the city passed a resolution unanimously that sidelines the small business from existing and pending contracts. “The agreement also prohibits American Sewer Services from rebidding on either of the contracts,” the report adds.
American Sewer Services owner Dennis Biondich had apologized to officials and reportedly fired the worker who displayed the KKK artwork on his cooler, and one worker who brandished a firearm.
However, he failed to appear at a council meeting discussing the matter.
Two Aldermen, Mark Borkowski and Bob Donovan, argued against terminating the contracts. A company in business with the city for over 30 years should not be punitively punished for the actions of a few workers, they tried to explain to fellow council members.
Another Alderman, Nik Kovac, was having none of that during debate. He not only called for complete termination, he criticized Borkowski and Donovan for defending the blatantly racist workers.
“Given the amount of facts we have now, a reasonable person would say that racism was clearly tolerated on a day-to-day basis at that company,” Kovac said.
American Sewer Services has been awarded $50 million in contracts with the city of Milwaukee since 2013 alone.
Milwaukee’s actions today show that, while the limits of acceptable speech may have moved under Donald Trump presidency, the limits are still there, and crossing them has real consequences.