Investigations

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FHWA Suspends a Project Manager at Southern Illinois University and a Related Company for Lying to Federal Agents

On March 11, 2015, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) suspended Kwa Mister, Program Manager for the Highway Construction Preparatory Training Program (HCPTP) at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, Illinois (SIUE) and Phoenix Support Services, a company owned by Mister’s mother. The HCPTP is a program designed to help ensure that a diversified, properly trained workforce is available for road construction projects in Illinois.

These suspensions are based on a January 2015 indictment filed against Mister in U.S. District Court, East St. Louis, Illinois, for lying to Federal Agents. According to the indictment, an investigation and audit uncovered over a dozen purchase orders, contracts and sole source justification forms concerning the procurement of services totaling $85,500 from "L. A. S." d/b/a Phoenix Support Services. The Illinois Department of Transportation was billed and reimbursed SIUE for these costs. The procurement of the contracts with Phoenix Support Services was allegedly initiated by Mister, who procured the services of his mother, L. A. S., for sole source contracts, concealing the family relationship and the potential conflict of interest from SIUE. When the propriety of the contracts with Phoenix Support Services was under investigation, Mister allegedly lied to SIUE officials as to whether the owner of Phoenix Support Services was his mother. Mister is charged with lying to an OIG agent about whether he had provided false information to SIUE.

Note: Exclusion actions (suspensions and debarments) are frequently for a specific period of time and the System for Award Management "Sam.gov" should be consulted to find whether a company is currently excluded.