March 14, 2019
FAA Suspends Michigan Airport Contractor
On March 14, 2019, FAA suspended Douglas Earles, and his companies—North Star Water Management, White Lake, Michigan, and North Star Plumbing, Inc., located in Farmington, Michigan—from participating in Federal nonprocurement and procurement transactions.
On January 9, 2019, a superseding indictment filed in U.S. District Court, Detroit, Michigan, charged Earles and James Warner, a former department manager in utilities and infrastructure at the Wayne County Airport Authority (WCAA), with conspiracy to commit bribery and money laundering. On the same day, Earles was also charged with conspiracy to commit theft from a federally funded program.
From May 2007 through January 2018, North Star Water Management and North Star Plumbing had maintenance repair contracts with WCAA, a recipient of Federal assistance. Warner and Earles engaged in a scheme in which Warner provided confidential and proprietary information to help Earles secure plumbing contracts at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) and Willow Run Airport. Warner drafted, fraudulently submitted, and deceptively approved the invoices he created so that he and Earles could defraud WCAA, and Earles could pay kickbacks to Warner.
From June of 2010 through April of 2015, Earles’ companies received over $370,000 in payments from WCAA. Of that amount, Earles provided kickbacks of over $113,000 to Warner in the bribery and embezzlement conspiracy.
The superseding indictment included individual money judgments of $5,474,132.48 for both Earles and Warner.
DOT-OIG conducted this investigation with the FBI’s assistance.
Note: Exclusion actions (suspensions and debarments) are frequently for a specific period of time, and the System for Award Management should be consulted to find out whether a company is currently excluded.