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Raiders, builder exceeding numbers on stadium outreach

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The fancy name is the Las Vegas Stadium Benefits Oversight Committee.

They're in charge of making sure women, small businesses and minorities get a piece of the stadium pie.

They call it "community benefits," so let’s meet part of our community that would like to benefit.

“This project will really give us the opportunity to grow our business and grow along with our community,” Chila Margaretis told me as I stood with her and her husband, John, in front of their Las Vegas business, which they’ve had since 1996.

They own a mobile catering company with 19 food trucks and about 40 workers. They're a small business -- one of the 1,192 vendors who have applied to work at the stadium.

It's this committee's job to make sure small businesses like theirs get a fair shot.

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Under the legislation that made the stadium possible, 15 percent of the work is supposed to go to small businesses.

On Monday, we learned that they've exceeded that number.

It's 18-percent small businesses, so far, getting almost $91 million in contracts. And 38 percent of all the construction work is supposed to go to women and minorities.

We learned Monday that they're sitting at 54 percent, with 3 percent veterans.

“I think we're off to a very positive start right now,” says committee Chairman Ken Evans, who sits on the Las Vegas Stadium Authority. Evans is also President of the Urban Chamber of Commerce.

“It appears as if we’re doing the right things,” he said. “There may be some outliers here and there, but from what I see they’re doing a proactive job to make sure that there’s diversity and inclusion as we originally committed to.”

Monday’s stadium benefits committee meeting was largely organizational, with the committee deciding to report to the stadium authority on a quarterly basis. Compliance is largely the job of the builder, with oversight provided by both the committee and the authority.

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Nonetheless, initial numbers look good.

“Not surprising,” says Raiders President Marc Badain. “We've known from the get-go how important it was to the community and it's always been important to the Raiders, so we weren't surprised by it at all,”

At the stadium site, we learned today the deep foundations will be finished next week. Soon, you'll see concrete go up, and steel will begin appearing in July.

“We currently have about 225 workers onsite, and we anticipate that will grow to about 500 workers by the time we get to fall,” says Lynn Littlejohn, benefits committee member and a representative of the builder, Mortenson Construction.

This brings us back to John and Chila. They want their food trucks to feed those hungry workers.

“Mexican-American, mostly. But we'll cook up anything anybody wants - just about,” says John Margaretis.

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After all, you can't build a stadium on an empty stomach.

The $1.8 billion facility is scheduled to be finished in time for the 2020 football season for both the Raiders and UNLV’s Rebels.

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