RI Construction Co. Hit by Feds in $1M Settlement is Big Campaign Donor
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
improperly sought reimbursement of funding for minority-owned and women-owned businesses according to the U.S. Attorney's Office, funneled tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to top Rhode Island Democrats, a GoLocal investigation has found.
Campaign finance records show Rosciti family members and employees gave thousands to Governor Gina Raimondo, Mayor Jorge Elorza, as well as former Speaker of the House Gordon Fox and former Providence Mayor Angel Taveras among others, totaling nearly $60,000.
Million Dollar Settlement
The U.S. Attorney’s office on Monday announced that Johnston-based Rosciti as well as Wallace Construction Corporation, together with four of the companies’ current and former owners and officers, will pay $1 million dollars to resolve civil allegations that they violated the Federal False Claims Act, by submitting, or causing the submission of, claims for reimbursement for funding earmarked for minority, women-owned, or small business that they were not entitled to receive.
According to campaign finance records, employees of Rosciti Construction — including Anthony Rosciti Sr., Anthony Rosciti Jr., Christina Rosciti, and Henry Rosciti — gave former Mayor of Providence and gubernatorial candidate Angel Taveras $10,000; former Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Patrick Lynch $5,800; and former Speaker of the House Gordon Fox $5,750.
Governor Gina Raimondo received $5,000 from Rosciti; Johnston Mayor Joseph Polisena got $4,000; former Governor Don Carcieri got $3,500; and Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza received $3,000.
Other recipients of donations from employees of Rosciti include Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian, former State Representative and RI HHS Secretary Steven Costantino, former General Treasurer Frank Caprio, Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello, Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien, and City Councilman Michael Correia, among others.
Rosciti Construction has been in the construction service in the northeast for over 75 years, according to its website, with offices is Johnston; NYC; Hasbrouck Heights, NJ; and Miami.
In 2014, GoLocal reported that Rosciti was on the list of companies that owed Providence tens of thousands of dollars in back police detail pay.
About the Settlement
"The federally funded contracts for roadway, water system, and parking improvements in communities throughout the state and at Rhode Island College were financed by the Environmental Protection Agency, the United States Department of Education, and the United States Department of Transportation. The contracts contained specific requirements that subcontractors on these projects must include minority-owned, women-owned, or small businesses (commonly known as “disadvantaged business enterprises”). Rosciti Construction served as the prime contractor for the projects; Wallace Construction, a sub-contractor on all of the projects hired by Rosciti, was purported to be a disadvantaged business enterprise. In fact, the government alleges that Wallace was not at the time a legitimate disadvantaged business enterprise, and lacked the capacity to perform necessary work on the projects.
“Disadvantaged business enterprise requirements exist to make sure that small companies owned by women and by minorities have a fair shot to compete for, and benefit from, the economic opportunities provided by federal grants and contract dollars,” said U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha. “That opportunity is lost when companies manipulate the process to secure federally funded work in place of those that are legitimately deserving. This Office will continue to use all means at our disposal to ensure that contractors who receive federal dollars play by the rules,” said Neronha.
In addition to paying a $1 million dollar civil settlement, Rosciti and Wallace have entered into administrative agreements with the Environmental Protection Agency to resolve potential claims that could have resulted in suspension or debarment from participation in federal contracts and programs. Additionally, under the terms of these agreements, Rosciti and Wallace will appointment internal compliance officers and a neutral, third-party external monitor to ensure compliance with disadvantaged business enterprise requirements in the future; conduct training on these issues; and take additional steps to foster and maintain a culture of compliance. The costs of both the compliance officer and the monitor will be paid for by the companies.
Each of the four senior officers and the owners of the two firms is individually contributing to the settlement.
“Wallace Construction is pleased to enter into a settlement agreement with the United States to resolve all civil administrative matters relating to work it performed as a state and federal certified Minority Women Business Enterprise contractor, thereby avoiding lengthy and costly litigation. As a growing state and regional contractor, with a track record of professionalism, quality work and commitment to collaboration, this settlement agreement allows Wallace Construction to focus its energy on forging new relationships and creating new good paying jobs in Rhode Island,” said Gregg Perry, a spokesman for Wallace Construction."
It does not appear Kim Wallace made any state-level political contributions, according to finance records.
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