October 21, 2021 — Chicago Jewish mob associate Ben (King of the Custodians) Stein died 25 years ago this fall. But his behemoth janitorial business, United Maintenance Services, remains in the headlines all these years later.
Earlier this month, Stein’s protege and successor as owner of United Maintenance, Rick Simon, filed a lawsuit against O’Hare International Airport in Rosemont, Illinois for unjustly cancelling a $200,000,000 contract for the daily cleaning of the enormous, always-busting property. Simon is a former Chicago police officer and is as politically juiced-in as he is controversial. He purchased United Maintenance in 1996, shortly after Ben Stein passed away that September at the age of 82.
Stein founded United Maintenance in 1955 and built it into a juggernaut in the sanitation industry. By the early 1960s, United Maintenance held a staggering amount of city and state contracts to clean a number of government buildings and facilities.
According to FBI records, Stein had business connections to and friendships with several Chicago mafia figures, including labor union mob chiefs Joey Glimco and Dominic (The Big Banana) Senese, the Loop’s payoff man Gus (Slim) Alex and Northside “La Kosher Nostra” skipper Lenny Patrick. Alex and Stein co-owned The Sherman Hotel on Lake Shore Drive in downtown Chicago right off the water.
Stein’s contract to clean the offices of the Chicago FBI and U.S. Attorney of the Northern District of Northern Illinois raised eyebrows and red flags with investigators. In 1966, Stein was convicted by the Feds for violating the Taft-Hartley Act for
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