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Failed Project Developer Sent to Prison

Thursday, March 6, 2014

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A former Pennsylvania real-estate developer will spend seven years behind bars for fraud and money laundering related to an unfinished $28 million commerce center in the state capital.

David R. Dodd II, 45, of Mechanicsburg, PA, was also ordered to pay $21 million in restitution to his victims, including contractors and suppliers, during sentencing Thursday (Feb. 27), according to authorities.

An Apology

Dodd reportedly told U.S. Middle District Senior Judge Sylvia H. Rambo that he had gotten in over his head with the Capitol View Commerce Center development in Harrisburg, and he apologized to those who were harmed, according to pennlive.com.

Capitol View Commerce Center
WHTM ABC

David R. Dodd II, 45, concealed his ownership in a business to federal obtain funding and did not pay workers, prosecutors alleged.

“I have only myself to fault,” said Dodd. “My intentions were good.”

However, Assistant U.S. Attorney William A. Behe told the court that Dodd’s conduct was “far more than bad judgment.”

The judge agreed, concluding that Dodd was responsible for the project’s demise and the loss to the contractors.

The unfinished Commerce Center has been an "eyesore" for the city since workers walked off the project in 2008, reports said.

The developer pleaded guilty in November 2011 to charges filed in June 2010. He faced a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, according to prosecutors.

As part of his plea agreement, Dodd forfeited $1.1 million seized from six brokerage accounts; a 2008 BMW X5 vehicle; a 2008 Mercedes Benz E350W4 vehicle; and $58,041 in cash.

Commerce Center Conflict

According to prosecutors, Dodd used Industrial Design and Construction Inc., a business he owned, as part of the Commerce Center project to buy pre-cast concrete forms for the building.

Harrisburg
kev72 / Wikimedia Commons

The City of Harrisburg, Dauphin County, contractors, suppliers, and a bank lost millions in the project. The judge ordered the developer to pay $21 million in restitution.

Dodd hid his interest in the company, in violation of federal conflict-of-interest rules, thereby wrongfully obtaining more than $1 million in funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), through the City of Harrisburg and Dauphin County, prosecutors said.

The funds were placed into a brokerage account under Dodd's direction to conceal their existence and ownership, prosecutors alleged.

Unpaid Workers

Dodd was also paid $860,454 in HUD funds through programs administered by the City of Harrisburg and Dauphin County to pay contractors who worked on the Commerce Center.

Although Dodd received the money through his business Cameron Real Estate LP, he allegedly kept it and did not pay the contractors as required.

Victims who will share in the $21 million restitution include H&R Mechanical ($1.2 million); Weaver Glass ($594K); Macri Concrete ($323K) and other contractors. Metro Bank, the City of Harrisburg, and Dauphin County will also be compensated from those funds.

The unpaid workers walked off the project in 2008, leaving it unfinished, according to a local ABC News outlet.

‘Moral Victory’

One contractor that had been involved in the project was Herre Bros. Inc., a Hampden Township-based business that operated for 98 years.

The company shut down in 2011, due in part to Dodd’s failure to pay $1.2 million he owed the firm for the project, pennlive.com reported.

"I look at today's sentencing as a moral victory only," Herre Bros. president Richard McBride told the news bureau after sentencing. McBride urged prosecutors to keep investigating the Capitol View case, the report said.

U.S. Attorney Peter J. Smith is apparently reviewing the evidence to determine if additional charges against others are warranted.

New Project for Old Site

The project site was sold through bankruptcy proceedings in November.

The new owner—Moran Industries, a trucking company—plans to invest $10 million to turn the failed construction project into a logistics hub, reports said.

   

Tagged categories: Business matters; Commercial Construction; Commercial contractors; Criminal acts; Developers; Ethics; Funding; Good Technical Practice; Government

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