Hispanic contractors lose appeal

Armando Diaz, a Latino stone mason, found damning evidence that J.E. Dunn Construction Co. made a sham of minority-hiring goals when it subcontracted work on the H&R Block headquarters. But an appeals court says Diaz has no recourse.

In an opinion filed yesterday, the Missouri Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling against Diaz Construction Co. and the Kansas City Hispanic Association Contractors Enterprise. Diaz and KCHACE had sued the city, J.E. Dunn and H&R Block, claiming fraud and breach of contract.

The suit, filed in 2005, accused J.E. Dunn of using fronts, or pass-throughs, in order inflate the amount of construction work awarded to minority businesses. In one instance, a $3 million contract was attributed to a Latino electrician who lacked the expertise necessary to complete the job at the H&R Block site.  

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