Gregory Hood, American Renaissance, March 21, 2018
Affirmative-action construction may be behind the collapse of the pedestrian bridge at Florida International University in Miami, Florida. The bridge was built by Munilla Construction Management (MCM), a family business run by Cuban-American brothers. In its press releases, the company brags that it is “certified as a minority-owned firm.” It’s also identified as a “Hispanic American Owned Business” and a “Minority Owned Business” on InsideGov.
MCM has a long history of landing major government contracts, including a $128 million expansion of the Fort-Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport, two bridges in Alabama, roads, schools, and many other projects. Not coincidentally, the company has also contributed $165,000 to South Florida political candidates over the last 20 years. According to InsideGov, it has worked on 15 federal-government contracts worth $124 million.
Certification as a minority-owned firm with the “Southern Florida Minority Supplier Development Council” has tangible benefits. According to Inc.com, the US Department of Transportation “requires that recipients of its funding award a percentage of contracts to minority-owned businesses and many large companies have goals for buying from minority owned suppliers.” Legislation passed by Miami-Dade County resulted in the award of up to $50 million in contracts to the company, and 100 percent Hispanic ownership was noted as a factor.
It also doesn’t hurt that the company has given large contributions to national political figures such as Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart, Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development. Mr. Diaz-Balart is of Cuban descent, like the Munilla brothers, and he personally helped get the federal money for the ill-fated bridge.
The company is already facing lawsuits for alleged violations of worker safety rules and breach of contract. MCM has also been accused of hiring “incompetent, inexperienced, unskilled or careless employees,” and MCM’s efforts unduly to promote female engineers now appear foolish. Only days ago, Leonor Flores, a project executive with MCM and graduate of Florida International University, was featured in FIU News talking about the bridge. “It’s very important for me as a woman and an engineer to be able to promote that to my daughter, because I think women have a different perspective,” she said. “We’re able to put in an artistic touch and we’re able to build, too.”
After the bridge collapsed, FIU News noted that Miss Flores did not “work on the bridge in any capacity.” Of course, this makes the original cheerleading pointless. According to one report, the bridge was turned over to an all-female design team, and Miss Flores had been described as “excited to share her work with her family.”
The MCM website now features bilingual “thoughts and prayers” for the victims, but the focus should be on what happened. This project was funded by federal money, so there should be an investigation into whether affirmative action or ethnic networking jeopardize safety.