January 08, 2004
Florida Road Superintendent Fined $21,000 for Theft
Ray W. Root, a road superintendent for Couch Construction of Port Richey, FL, was ordered by a U.S. District Court judge in Tampa, FL, to pay the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) $21,000 for stealing asphalt millings from a Federal-aid highway project and selling them for personal profit. Couch Construction, the prime contractor, was to return the millings to FDOT. Asphalt millings, which are ground off the road surface, can be mixed with new asphalt or used like gravel to fill potholes and cover dirt roads and driveways. Root pleaded guilty in August 2003 to stealing more than $21,000 worth of asphalt millings from a resurfacing project along U.S. Highway 19 in Pasco County, Florida, near Port Richey and New Port Richey. During his two-year probation, Root is prohibited from bidding or acting as a manager on any FDOT or DOT-funded highway projects. The case was investigated jointly by OIG, FDOT OIG, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.