October 3, 2019
FHWA Suspends Vermont Contractor and Its Owner
On October 3, 2019, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) suspended J. A. McDonald Inc. (JAM), a Vermont contractor, and its owner, Eric Boyden. The suspensions follow a DOT OIG investigation and a civil settlement agreement to resolve allegations that JAM and Boyden violated Federal and State False Claims Act regulations by knowingly causing the State of Vermont to submit false payment claims to FHWA. JAM and Boyden were held jointly and severally liable for $270,000.
This case was related to the federally funded construction of the Bristol Bridge, which spans the New Haven River, on State Highway 116, in Bristol, Vermont. In August 2013, the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) contracted with JAM to furnish materials and labor for the construction. In 2014, JAM installed 12 bridge-bearing device assemblies that were subsequently determined to be materially deficient. JAM concealed the deficient work and submitted payment requests to VTrans. In turn, VTrans unwittingly paid for JAM’s deficient bridge work and also submitted claims for those payments to FHWA.
JAM later replaced the allegedly deficient bridge-bearing device assemblies at its own cost and under the supervision of VTrans inspectors. The civil settlement agreement was neither an admission of liability by JAM or Boyden nor a concession by the United States or the State of Vermont that their claims are not well founded.
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.