CINCINNATI - The Ohio Inspector General is accusing several Ohio Department of Transportation employees and several equipment suppliers of being involved in a bid-rigging scheme.
Details are expected during a 2 p.m. news conference at the office of Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters.
The suppliers involved in the case conspired to illegally control the bidding process to their benefit and to the detriment of Ohio taxpayers, said Inspector General Randall Meyer.
Meyer said the investigation revealed that several ODOT employees were fully aware of what was going on and "passively stood by."
The 125-page investigation report says the probe began in 2008 and revealed that ODOT workers failed to follow policies and procedures involving:
* Soliciting, accepting, and awarding of quotes;
* Maintaining hard copy and electronic transactions records;
* Charging expenses using payment cards;
* Permitting employees to approve their spouses' purchases and to determine whether these purchases complied with applicable ODOT policies and procedures;
* Exceeding the $50,000 annual purchasing limit per fiscal year for vendors not under contract to provide good and services:
* Permitting certain vendors to provide input on specifications prior to submitting a quote; and
* Accepting meals and other gratuities from vendors.
The investigation found a conspiracy between A&A Safety Inc ., Quattro Inc., and Bain Enterprises to determine the amount of the quotes selected by ODOT or the city of Hudson, which is a Cleveland suburb. The report says a total of $217,000 in taxpayer money was involved.
Quattro Inc., entered a guilty plea Tuesday morning before Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Robert Winkler. It was signed by Quattro vice president Bill Luttmer and included one felony count of prohibition against entering into an unlawful combination, contract or agreement; and one felony count of an attempt to engage in a pattern of corrupt activity
As part of the plea, Quattro Inc., agreed to pay restitution of $32,796 to the state of Ohio and pay a forfeiture of $10,000 for investigative and litigation costs.
A&A Safety sales manager Timothy O'Brien entered a guilty plea to three misdemeanor counts of conspiracy against trade. He will pay $4,372 in restitution and a forfeiture of $1,500 for investigative and litigation costs.
The criminal complaint can be accessed at http://media2.wcpo.com/pdfs/trade.pdf
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