Op-Ed: Do they really care about Baltimore’s Black businesses? by Wayne Frazier

PROTEST SCHEDULED FOR MARCH 31ST

(BALTIMORE – March 24, 2021) – Hello, Baltimore City!

Black Businesses, are you tired of always being treated like second-class citizens in your own city? Are you tired of doing great work and not getting paid by the majority white-owned prime contractors? Or how about this? Being named on a project and never being called to perform the work?

How about a contract you are forced to enter with a prime that is so onerous you will fail just by executing it?

And finally, once you submit a proud invoice of the great work that you performed, only to be told that you have errors in the paperwork and it must be redone, thus forcing another 30 days or more to be paid?

Well, these items can and will place your business in jeopardy and you certainly won’t last long in business. Why? Because you have been intentionally mistreated and, up to now, nothing has been done about it.

On March 31st, 8:30 to 9:30 am, a group of very concerned Black businesses will picket, protest, and demonstrate in front of Baltimore’s City Hall bringing light to those demonstrative practices carried out by Baltimore City government, their majority/white-owned primes, and the Maryland Stadium Authority and it’s handling of the Baltimore City Public Schools’ $2 billion construction management contracts. Some say it’s racism at its core, but how can it be racism in Baltimore City when it’s run by Black leaders?

I call it greed by those primes who practice this and want to keep it all!

We will also ask questions about what the City is doing to make sure that those many Tax Incremental Financing projects (TIF’s) are doing to live up to their legal promises to hire Black contractors and professional service providers to meet the City’s minimum 37% MBE/WBE goals.

In addition, Baltimore City Housing is offering grants and subsidies and not forcing the inclusion of Black contractors. Why?

How about, why is the city not ensuring that all projects have African American sub-goals on each project?

Plus, why won’t the City fine and perhaps disbar those corporate criminal primes who abuse our Black contractors?

And, why is our Mayor, Brandon Scott, so high on the unions’ desired Project Labor Agreements that will force even more of us out of business, and everyone knows that the unions and Baltimore Building Trades don’t treat Black contractors fairly!

Why Mayor Scott?

Finally, we will call for the City’s Inspector General, Isabella Cummings, to launch a full investigation on the corporate criminal primes who have abused the many Black contractors and not paid them nor lived up to their commitments. We see that she is busy investigating our Black leaders and trying to bring them down, so why not do us Black businesses a great favor and start full investigations where we know that crimes are being committed.

Enough is enough and I’m tired of so much pain in our Black business community. We must stand together and force Mayor Scott and even Governor Hogan, who oversees the Maryland Stadium Authority, to step up and cure this. If they don’t, they don’t care a damn about us!