Update: FTA Removes Debarment of New York Company Co-Owner
Effective April 2, FTA instituted 3-year debarments against Sailaji Chitta and Jagannathan Kuttambakkam, co-owners, Providence Construction. The debarments resulted from Chitta and Kuttambakkam’s allegedly improper payments to Talib Lokhandwala, a former senior director of the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA). Lokhandwala pleaded guilty in October 2017 to using his position to solicit and receive bribes from contractors seeking to do business with NYCTA. He admitted to receiving tens of thousands of dollars in bribes from Providence Construction between 2009 and 2014. In exchange, he provided favors, such as resources, information, and expedited services, to make Providence Construction's NYCTA contracts more successful and profitable. FTA annually awards millions of dollars of grant funds to MTA and its subsidiary, NYCTA, for construction projects.
DOT-OIG conducted this investigation with MTA-OIG.
Update: On October 2, FTA removed the debarment of Sailaji Chitta due to insufficient evidence. Jagannathan Kuttambakkam was the primary driver of the relationship with Lokhandwala, who paid the bribes to Kuttambakkam. In addition, Chitta removed Kuttambakkam from any role at Providence Construction Corp. FTA sustained the debarment it issued to Kuttambakkam to protect the integrity of Federal programs.
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.