A Tennessee road-building and site excavation company has settled a federal bid suspension and escaped disbarment by the Federal Highway Administration by agreeing to add a compliance officer and to submit to independent monitors after charges it submitted false claims involving a minority-owned subcontractor.
The settlement, effective Jan. 8, lifts a halt issued Oct. 21, 2015, to Civil Constructors LLC, Franklin, Tenn. The company paid $400,000 in Sept. 2015 to settle government charges it used a woman-owned firm as a “pass through” for work done by a non-DBE (disadvantaged business enterprise) company. Civil Constructors did not admit criminal or civil liability but did take responsibility for the action, and agreed to a three-year effective period of the deal, signed by Walter C. Waidelich, FHWA suspending and debarring official, and Joe L. Rodgers, company president.
The company’s decision to agree to the settlement and take responsibility was based on several factors, including potential expense and the need to move on, says Ron Harris, its attorney. Civil Constructors was the primary contractor on a federally-funded, $1.4-million road project in Gallatin, Tenn., in 2011 and 2012, when Columbia Construction Co., Columbia, Tenn., was the “pass through” and MarCor Construction Inc., Nashville, which is not a DBE, did the work and was paid for it. It has named Glenn Rikard, controller, as corporate compliance officer and Todd Ketner, vice president of estimating, to consult on DBE issues.
Michael Self, president of EEO Networking Solutions, Gainesville, Fla., and Olivia Fonseca, president of GLA-Public Private Enterprises, Sacramento, Calif., will serve as independent monitors, with fees and expenses to be paid by the company for three years, according to the deal. They also will assess and oversee implementation of DBE policy and compliance, plus make at least one unannounced on-site inspection each month of a company worksite where federal funds are used.
The Tennessee Dept of Transportation, through a similar agreement, also lifted a suspension of the company, with which it currently has seven contracts totaling $30 million.