Wednesday, April 27, 2011

God and the Godfather

Call it the case of God and the Godfather.

A brand new seminary is going up near the campus of Loyola University. But student Stan Golovchuk, who's also an editor on the Loyola Phoenix, found something on the construction site that now has church officials scrambling.

Golovchuk noticed a dumpster labeled "D & P Construction" across the street from the student newspaper's offices, and started investigating. "I found they have business all over the city, throughout the suburbs. And I also found out not a lot of people wanted to talk about them," Golovchuk said.

Funny, cause that's the same reaction FOX Chicago News got two years ago when we began poking around D & P's business with suburban governments, including some contracts worth millions of dollars. We even got shouted at and chased away from D & P's headquarters.

On paper, D & P is owned by a woman named Josephine DiFronzo, but an FBI report says the company is actually controlled by Josephine's husband Peter DiFronzo and his brother John "No-Nose" DiFronzo, the reputed head of the Chicago Outfit. Both brothers are convicted felons.

Two summers ago, we watched John DiFronzo walk in and out of D & P's Melrose Park construction yard on an almost daily basis. At the time, he told us he "don't do nothing" for D & P.

"I just thought it was unusual that this company that has a questionable past and reputation is doing business with the Archdiocese of Chicago. In a way it's almost as if the ultimate good is working with the ultimate evil," Golovchuk said. But things got even more bizarre when Golovchuk began to ask questions about how D & P got hired. The Archdiocese refused to talk to him, and instead issued this terse statement: "We do not arrange interviews for student newspaper reporters. We only provide student reporters with direction on how to access public information on the Archdiocesan website."

"I think it's disrespectful and rude, and I was offended and surprised. Not only because I go to a Catholic university, and the Archdiocese is connected to the school. But just because I'm a student I think it's unusual they wouldn't want to talk to me," he said.

The Archdiocese was more willing to talk to FOX Chicago News. In a statement, a spokesman said "a very large number of ongoing construction projects are conducted in the archdiocese every year. Sub-contractors, especially at this level, are hired by the general contractor without consultation with the Archdiocese."

After Golovchuk began digging, the D & P dumpsters disappeared. Henry Brothers Construction, the chief contractor for the new seminary, said the Archdiocese asked them to find another company.

Thanks to Dane Placko

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