Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R Vance Jr strikes again on his hard stance against corruption and safety negligence in the construction industry. A Few weeks ago, he announced assault charges against a superintendent and a manager after 2 construction workers were seriously injured on a jobsite. In 2016, he successfully convicted a construction foreman of criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment after a laborer was killed in a trench collapse that he was overseeing. Just last week, Vance announced charges against formers Turner Construction and Bloomberg LP executives in a $15M bid-rigging and commercial bribery conspiracy.
Vance alleges that fourteen individuals and three corporations were involved in a scheme to steal money from Bloomberg LP through “inflated subcontractor bids, fictitious work orders and change orders, and misappropriation of unused subcontractor allowance funds” and/or “furthering the conspiracy by paying commercial bribes, engaging in bid-rigging, falsifying business records, and laundering the criminal proceeds of the schemes.”
Formal charges include Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, various counts of Grand Larceny in the First and Second Degrees, Money Laundering in the First and Second Degrees, Commercial Bribing in the First Degree, among other charges.
The investigation centered around interior renovation work at Bloomberg Offices, owned by former New York Mayor and Presidential Candidate Michael Bloomberg. According to the New York Daily News, authorities have concluded that he did not know about the corruption.
Turner, as a company, is not being charged with any wrongdoing, according to statements made by the company’s lawyer to the NY Daily News. The lawyer also said the company “applauds” the DA’s efforts and that those charged from the company were “rogue former employees.”
In order to secure the work, the DA office says, inside information was passed to certain subcontractors. Fake invoices and purchase orders were submitted to inflate budgets, falsified Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) documents were submitted to help secure bids, and bribes were provided to Bloomberg and Turner Executives, including cases and incentives, such as vacations and home renovations.
Of note, a Turner Construction Manager, Project Superintendent, and Vice President were charged in the conspiracy. The presidents and other executives of three subcontractors, 2 electricians and a mechanical contractor, were also indicted.
“New York’s sky-high construction costs are driven not only by market demand, but by pay-to-play industry corruption that makes it impossible for honest companies to compete,” said District Attorney Vance, in a press release. “Thanks to the unique expertise of prosecutors in my Office’s Rackets Bureau, as well as our partners in the New York State Police, this massive, years-long kickback scheme has come to an end. Today’s indictments and guilty pleas demonstrate that if you are engaging in organized crime that blocks fair competition in Manhattan, our prosecutors will find you, turn over every stone, and shut you down. This is exactly the type of the case that our Rackets Bureau was created a hundred years ago to bring.”