Texas Highway Construction Firm to Pay $3 Million in Civil Settlement for Alleged Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program Fraud
On December 12, Williams Brothers Construction Co., Inc., Houston, TX, agreed to pay a $3 million fine to resolve claims that it violated DBE program contracting requirements by using two concrete-supply DBE companies which it controlled and by claiming DBE contracting credit for equipment lease expenses incurred by the two DBE subcontractors for equipment owned by an affiliate of the companies. These claims involved multiple federally funded highway construction projects in Texas. Under a separate agreement with DOT, the company will submit to DBE compliance monitoring and contribute assistance and other services to the Texas Department of Transportation's DBE Supportive Services Program. The DBE program provides a vehicle for increasing the participation by women and minority businesses in state and local procurement.
In addition to the $3 million payment to resolve civil claims, Williams Brothers has also entered into a separate administrative agreement with the Department of Transportation involving the hiring of a DBE compliance monitor and an agreement by Williams Brothers to voluntarily contribute assistance and other services to the Texas Department of Transportation’s DBE Supportive Services Program.