November 29, 2018
California Contractor Agrees to Civil Settlement
On November 29, Outreach & Escort, Inc. (Outreach), San Jose, California, entered into a civil settlement agreement with the Santa Clara County (California) Valley Transportation Authority (VTA). Outreach agreed to pay VTA $375,000 in full by March 13, 2019, to resolve any outstanding claims.
Outreach was a nonprofit transportation broker that contracted with VTA to provide Americans with Disabilities Act–compliant paratransit related services for eligible individuals in Santa Clara County. VTA received funding through grants from the Federal Transit Administration. In 2016, VTA auditors discovered discrepancies in the 2014–2015 ridership data Outreach reported. A second phase of the audit found that Outreach had inflated ridership information and, as a result, obtained an inflated reimbursement.
Conditions of the settlement stipulated that two Outreach executives—Kathryn Heatley, chief executive officer, and Robert Gruss, vice president of operations—would not bid, propose, or otherwise solicit work from VTA as a prime contractors, subcontractors, or employees for 5 years.
DOT-OIG conducted this investigation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.