November 2, 2018
FHWA Debars Washington State Contractor
On November 2, 2018, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) debarred Tri-State Construction (Tri-State) of Bellevue, Washington for a period of 3 years, which will expire on December 3, 2018. Tri-State was previously suspended on December 3, 2015, based on a civil settlement agreement Tri State entered into with the U.S. Government. In June 2015, Tri-State agreed to pay $142,440 to settle allegations that false claims for payment were submitted on the federally funded I-5 High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane project in Tacoma, Washington. Tri-State did not admit any misconduct in the civil settlement agreement.
The investigation found that Tri-State bought and used a stormwater treatment system, known as a chitosan, on the I-5 project. However, they submitted invoices to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) representing that they were renting the treatment system from OMA Construction, a disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE). They submitted reports to the WSDOT certifying that the amounts on the rental invoices were eligible for DBE credit on the project. The United States alleged that these claims were false since Tri-State actually owned and operated the stormwater treatment system on the project, not OMA Construction.
DOT-OIG conducted this investigation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
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.