MGM: Nearly 1/3 of contracting firms in casino project are minority-owned

Via The Washington Post

Residents and minority-owned businesses in Prince George’s are getting their fair share of contracts in the construction of Maryland’s sixth casino, MGM National Harbor’s top executive told county officials Tuesday.

Meanwhile, a group of Prince George’s County businesses filed a lawsuit claiming that the casino giant has not complied with minority-business contracting standards.

So far, nearly one-third of contracts in the $1.2 billion project have gone to minority-owned businesses, Lorenzo Creighton, president and chief operating officer for the company, said during two hours of intense questions about MGM’s “best efforts” to hire locally. About half of the minority-owned firms hired to work on the project in 2014 were based in Prince George’s, Creighton said.

MGM officials did not say how many county residents have been hired, but they said 19 percent of the 96,000 total labor hours worked in 2014 were performed by county residents.

The contracting figures exceed promises MGM made in a community benefits agreement that was part of the negotiations last year when it sought approval to build the luxury resort at National Harbor.

“We are excited about bringing this economic development to Prince George’s County,” Creighton said, calling MGM an “industry pioneer in diversity.”

“As we continue, there will be many more contract and career opportunities for minority business enterprises and Prince George’s County residents,” he said.

Some lawmakers and residents have questioned MGM’s transparency in sharing information about its hiring efforts and contracting process and have urged it to step up efforts to give more county residents and firms the jobs they were promised.