Lawyers find abuses in minority program
Saturday, January 13, 2007 Plain Dealer
Ricardo Teamor, a minority contractor who has admitted to the FBI that he collected tens of thousands of dollars for doing little work during Cleveland's $500 million airport expansion project, walked into contractor John Allega's office in 2002 with a proposal: Hand over more cash on the airport job.
But Allega, who had the main contract for the expansion and hired Teamor's company as a minority subcontractor, balked. The talk grew heated, and Teamor threatened to kill Allega and his family, Allega told police after the meeting.
The description of the meeting comes from lawyers who investigated allegations that Allega paid minority contractors, including Teamor's company, for work they didn't do on the big airport job.
........"The nature and circumstances of the abuses that appear to have occurred on the project suggest that there is a wider level of abuse" in the city's minority contractor programs, the 13-page report says.
......White also found evidence that another of Allega's minority subcontractors, Chem-Ty Environmental, "did very little of the work attributed to it under its subcontract."
.......Allega overstated the work done by a third minority subcontractor, Bradley Construction, the report said.
He reported that the city law governing the participation of minority and female companies on city projects was so "poorly conceived and drafted" that it was easily circumvented.
Teamor, a onetime associate of former Cleveland Mayor Michael R. White, was sentenced in 2005 to four months in prison and four months of house arrest. He paid bribes to former Cleveland Councilman Joe Jones, who was forced to resign in 2005...... More...
Allega Cement may be forced to pay millions
An investigation by the city's Office of Equal Opportunity named two companies that it said Allega "solicited, induced and engaged" as front companies on the project.
Allega, which held $130 million of the work, submitted false statements on the companies' performance, and "fraudulently obtained and aided others in obtaining" public money for work to which they were not entitled, the OEO said. Compliance Enforcement Administrator Lisa D. Dent signed findings of non-compliance Jan. 5.
Dent recommended Anthony Allega Cement Contractors be barred from city contracts for two years. She also said the company should pay damages ....... Based on Dent's assessment of the contracts, it could run into millions. The city also could sue or pursue criminal prosecution.
The city found Nate Gray, now serving a 15-year prison term .....was involved in the scheme.More.....
'Swap' concealed payments, Airport contractor got money back
Friday, January 19, 2007
Three-quarters of the money paid to a minority-owned company for work on the runway expansion at Cleveland's airport ended up flowing back to the white-owned company that had the lead contract, city documents show. More.....
The general consensus throughout the heavy highway construction business is "It's about damn time" and "it could not have happened to a nicer S.O.B. Many have been waiting for this to come out since the Nate Gray stories hit the paper.
It is hysterically funny that John Allega, "cried" to the police after he was allegedly threatened by Teamor. None of us buy it.
It appears Allega threatens and tries to intimidate others on a routine basis.
The P.D. reported on 12/1/01 about Allega's know temper and confrontational demeanor-
Actually, said airport chief Reuben Sheperd... One of those challenges, he added, was Allega's "volatile" personality.
"At one point the meetings were nothing more than a showcase for John Allega to put on a show of his temper," Sheperd said.
The ignoring of Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Requirements and minority set asides is very routine in this field and has been going for a very long time.
These requirements although a pain in the neck, are very specific; All DBE contractors are to be approved prior to contract being awarded.
Contracts will have certain percentage of DBE work required. The tasks the DBE contractor are to perform for general contractor on said project are submitted and approved prior to work.
In a nut shell it is pretty simple - the DBE contractor is NOT to use any equipment, work force, material, trucks or equipment of the general contractor. They are to perform as two (2) separate contractors. The general contractor may NOT assist the DBE contractor in any way shape or form.
In theory this is a good program. It enables smaller construction companies to share a piece of the pie and gives them an opportunity to grow.
Contractors routinely skirt this by creating front companies. Many times the same guy will work for three different contractors the same week on the same job. Equipment traded back and forth, labeled with DBE's name using magnetic signs, fictional employees, etc...
Recently, the State has been cracking down on these contractors, as you see here. I will not be suprised if Mike White gets tied in pretty soon.
This is only a sample of what I have seen in the field. Hopefully other contractors will take notice.