FAA investigation finds “significant compliance deficiencies” on hiring of women and minorities for $1.5B KCI airport project

Published: Feb. 11, 2022 at 6:58 PM CST
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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- The Federal Aviation Administration is warning KCI Airport to immediately comply with requirements on hiring of women and minorities for construction contracts, saying it has failed to follow federal law on transparency and accountability on hiring practices.

The accusations came after an investigation into Kansas City International Airport’s contracting programs by the FAA’s Office of Civil Rights. The investigation found complaints of hiring discrimination that it says the city did not properly report or record.

One of those complaints was made by G2 Construction and its owner Lisa Garney. They were part of a team that was awarded a $92 million concrete contract, but that project was later re-bid to a different company. Garney says that a company that initially lost the bid was awarded it after meeting with the City Council.

“One of the largest contracts ever awarded to a woman-owned business in KC was wrongfully taken from G2 as a result of discrimination,” Garney said in a statement obtained Friday morning. “The city’s lack of controls, accountability, and transparency, cited by the FAA, allowed this to happen. It’s particularly disappointing because our team has vast experience in concrete work and we won the bid because we had the qualifications, lowest price, and highest minority and women participation.”

KCI officials did not directly deny the allegations, but said such complaints and investigations are common. They said they will continue to work to comply with local, state and federal regulations.

The FAA had sent a letter to the Kansas City Aviation Department outlining alleged incidents of non-compliance with federal regulations regarding Title VI, which includes requirements on inclusion of women and minorities in such projects and properly documenting such efforts.

In the letter, the FAA also noted instances that KCI did not keep records on participation of women and minorities, was not transparent or accountable, and failed to report complaints.

The FAA “determined MCI has significant compliance deficiencies with several Title VI and (federal) requirements,” the letter states. “We expect the city to take immediate steps to correct the identified deficiencies, starting with proposed corrective actions and timelines for each finding.”

The FAA warns KCI it must notify the federal agency ways it will correct its alleged violations within the next 30 days.

The FAA’s letter to the Kansas City Aviation Department can be seen here.

The Kansas City Aviation Department released the following statement from the city:

The Aviation Department has voluntarily been working with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on this review. The City’s Civil Rights and Equal Opportunity Department (CREO KC) recently joined this effort and will assist in the City’s review the FAA’s letter in full and work to implement the necessary changes.

Complaints and investigations of this nature are not uncommon and we are continuously working to ensure compliance with all local, state, and federal rules and regulations. The Aviation Department understands its grant assurance responsibilities and continues to work closely with the FAA to uphold our commitments.

The City does not expect there to be any effect on the budget or schedule of the new terminal project, which remains on time and on budget.

Kansas City Aviation Department

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