Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Tollway Agency's Contracts Displease Edgar

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Tollway Agency's Contracts Displease Edgar

Article excerpt

Gov. Jim Edgar's office criticized the state tollway agency on Wednesday for awarding millions of dollars in no-bid contracts to two companies owned by a longtime friend of the executive director. One of the companies also employs the director's son.

Upchurch & Associates, of Mattoon, owned by James Upchurch and its wholly owned subsidiary, United Analytical Services Inc., did no work for the Illinois State Toll Authority before 1991. In that year, Robert Hickman became executive director of the tollway system and his son, Robert Hickman Jr., joined Upchurch & Associates.

Since then, the companies have received about $3.8 million in contracts, the agency said Wednesday. Hickman never told the board members voting on the contracts about his son's involvement with the companies, the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights reported Wednesday.

"The governor believes Mr. Hickman should have disclosed the relationship to those who would have voted and that it is wrong if his son stood to benefit," said Mike Lawrence, a spokesman for Edgar. …

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