March 3, 2017
Former Southern Illinois University Project Manager and Related Company Debarred by FHWA for 3 Years
On March 3, 2017, Kwa Mister and Phoenix Support Services were debarred by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for a period of 3 years. In August 2015, Mister was sentenced in U.S. District Court, East St. Louis, Illinois, to 3 years’ probation and $2,700 in fines for lying to Federal agents.
Mister was the program manager for the Highway Construction Preparatory Training Program (HCPTP) at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, Illinois (SIUE). SIUE had entered into an intergovernmental agreement with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to be the fiscal agent for the HCPTP, which is a program designed to help ensure that a diversified, properly trained workforce is available for road construction projects in Illinois.
An investigation and an audit uncovered over a dozen purchase orders, contracts, and sole-source justification forms concerning the procurement of services totaling $85,500 from Phoenix Support Services, which was owned by Mister’s mother. SIUE billed and was paid by IDOT for these costs. Mister initiated the procurement of the sole-source contracts with Phoenix Support Services, and he concealed the family relationship and potential conflict of interest from SIUE.
While Phoenix Support Services was under investigation, Mister lied to SIUE officials about whether the company’s owner was his mother. Mister also lied to a DOT-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 out whether a company is currently excluded.