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Former Bloomberg, Turner Execs Face Charges

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

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Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance announced last week the indictments for former Bloomberg LP and Turner Construction Co. executives, as well as several subcontractors and vendors, on charges bribery, bid-rigging, conspiracy and other offenses.

The district attorney’s office says that the 14 individuals and three corporations charged allegedly tried to steal approximately $15 million from Bloomberg during a major renovation at the company’s New York City offices.

What Happened

In February, The New York Times reported that a series of sweeps had been made in October 2017 by New York State Police and the Manhattan district attorney in which they investigated the offices of Bloomberg L.P. and Turner Construction.

© iStock.com / TomasSereda

The district attorney’s office says that the 14 individuals and three corporations charged allegedly tried to steal approximately $15 million from Bloomberg during a major renovation at the company’s New York City offices.

According to the Times report (which spoke to several people on condition of anonymity because they were not permitted to disclose information), computers and files from various employees at both companies were seized as the officials looked into bribery, bid-rigging and kickbacks in the interior construction industry.

Turner Construction, a general contractor responsible for major construction projects, oversees work on the financial news company’s New York offices, which is what the investigation focused on. Officials said at the time that subcontractors were accused of paying bribes and kickbacks to Turner and Bloomberg executives to land work in a pay-to-play scheme.

Because such an arrangement would be flagged in Turner’s computing systems (the company gives its employees computers and tablets with which to track bids and work records), employees from Turner didn’t even keep the records, investigators noted. Instead, records of the construction were on Bloomberg staff computers, which showed that Bloomberg projects were inflated by about $1 million.

Both Bloomberg and Turner say that “an isolated group of rogue employees” were responsible, and at least eight people from the establishments have been fired.

What Now

Last week, a number of former executives were indicted, including Bloomberg’s Anthony Guzzone, former head of global construction, and Michael Campana, former construction manager, for conspiring with Turner executives Ronald Olson, former vice president and account executive, and Vito Nigro, former project superintendent, who are also charged.

“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,” Vance said 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.”

The executives are accused of stealing from Bloomberg through inflated subcontractor bids, fictitious work orders and change orders and misappropriation of unused subcontractor funds. Numerous subcontracting individuals and companies are also charged.

The group is charged with conspiracy in the fourth degree, as well as various counts of grand larceny in the first and second degrees, money laundering in the first and second degrees, commercialbribing in the first degree and other charges.

Both Bloomberg and Turner maintain that the companies were victims of a long-running scheme by rogue employees, and according to the Times, thanked the district attorney’s office for uncovering the scheme.

Alex Spiro, Guzzone’s lawyer, has said that they are planning to fight the allegations.

   

Tagged categories: Bidding; Ethics; Good Technical Practice; Lawsuits; North America

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