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Union Opposes Police HQ Contractor With Criminal Past

John R Kahrhoff
IBEW Local 1
Members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1 protest outside the future headquarters of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

A local union is protesting a sub-contractor working on St. Louis’ new police headquarters.  Local 1 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers opposes Thomas Ruzicka who has been convicted of embezzling more than $100,000 from former employees.

The union's business manager Frank Jacobs says Ruzicka is a license holder for R E Contracting that is handling about $1.2 million worth of electrical work for the downtown building. 

Jacobs says in addition to Ruzicka's checkered past, R E Contracting has repeatedly failed to pay state taxes and unemployment contributions.

“A felon can't vote in an election,” he said. “I just think it's kind of ironic that he's able to obtain a job working in the St. Louis Police Department." 

Jeff Rainford, chief of staff for Mayor Francis Slay, says the city initially tried to replace the company, but had no legal justification to do so. 

“We don’t have to like it and often times we don’t like it,” he said, “but it would be reckless of us to do things for political reasons for which there’s no legal justification, get sued and lose a bunch of the taxpayer’s money.”

Neither Ruzicka nor a representative for his company was immediately available for comment.