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Over $3.1 Million Returned to FHWA Indiana Division Following Federal Probe of Bridge Painting Inspector Bribery

The Indiana Division of FHWA was reimbursed over $3.1 million by the Indiana DOT, as a result of prior termination of federal funds of a $17 million project for repainting the JFK Bridge which crosses the Ohio River between Kentucky and Indiana. The Indiana DOT and Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) had both participated in the project. FHWA terminated federal funding of the project based on findings of a joint OIG/FBI bribery investigation of bridge painting projects in Kentucky and subsequent prosecution of Kevin Earles, a KYTC bridge inspector on charges of extortion. Earles was sentenced in September 2002 to nearly six years in prison. KYTC had returned another $5.9 million to the Kentucky Division of FHWA in July 2004.