Category Archives: DBE Compliance

FTA Threatens Transit Funding

The Trumbull County Transit Board (TCTB) has until Monday to answer compliance questions and numerous other questions that have been lingering for years. If they cannot come up with answers, The Federal Transit Administration has informed TCTB that they will lose all or part of its federal funding, according to a letter sent to the board chairman, Robert Faulkner.

Faulkner said he was surprised by the letter because he thought everything the FTA needed already was turned over and he doesn’t believe the board is in danger of losing federal funding. The amount varies, but the board has received around $900,000 to $1 million in federal funds in the last few years.

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FHWA Approves Local Assistance Procedures for Construction Manager and General Contractor

On March 13, 2019, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) approved the Local Assistance Procedures for Construction Manager and General contractor. FHWA provided guidance to Caltrans while developing the procedures and approves them for use on Federal-Aid locally administered projects.

View the Local Assistance Procedures for Construction Manager and General contractor under Local Assistance Policies and Procedures page.

Business Owner with 10% Minority DNA Seeks US. Supreme Court Ruling

 

Ralph Taylor, a Washington State business owner, is challenging the policies that determine eligibility for disadvantaged and minority status in state and federal incentive programs.

After a DNA test showed that Taylor was 90 percent Caucasian, six percent American Indian and four percent sub-Saharan African decent, he submitted the results to Washington’s Office of Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises. Taylor believed that these results allowed him to certify as black and qualify his business as a Minority Owned Enterprise.  Taylor also applied for the federally funded Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program through the US. Department of Transportation.

The US. Department of Transportation immediately questioned the validity of Taylor’s DNA test, and demanded proof of a direct ancestor. They also found no persuasive evidence that showed Taylor had suffered social and economic disadvantage by virtue of being a Black American.  Taylor’s MBE certification with the Washington OMWBE was later reversed upon the bureau reviewing his eligibility.

Taylor then took his case to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, who dismissed his suit in February 2019.  He is now hoping that his case will get picked up by the United States Supreme Court, believing that it will prove to be a landmark decision on the standards that the government uses to determine racial identity.

To read more, click here.

USDOT Reviewing Guidance Documents and Looking for Comments

The U.S. Department of Transportation is reviewing its existing guidance documents to evaluate their continued necessity and determine whether they need to be updated or revised.

As part of this review, the Department invites the public to identify and provide input on existing guidance documents including the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program Official Q&A and Airport Concession DBE (ACDBE) Program Official FQAs .

Please see the following link to Federal Register Notice for more information including how to file comments:  https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2019-02-05/pdf/2019-01065.pdf

Pennsylvania Company and Owner Debarred by FHWA

Century Steel Erectors Company, L.P. (Century Steel) and its owner, Donald Taylor, were debarred by FHWA on December 26, 2018. This debarment will last three years.

Taylor previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges for his role in a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) fraud scheme involving federally funded bridge projects in Pennsylvania. He admitted that he joined and presided over a pass-through scheme in which Century Steel used a certified DBE as a front company to obtain profits from DBE subcontracts.

For more information, click here.

2019 LAPM and LAPG Released!

Caltrans Division of Local Assistance has released the 2019 Local Assistance Procedures Manual (LAPM) and the 2019 Local Assistance Program Guidelines (LAPG).

The LAPM helps California local agencies scope, organize, design, construct and maintain their public transportation facilities when participating in Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) funded federal-aid or state funding. The manual describes the processes, procedures, documents, authorizations, approvals and certifications required in order to receive federal-aid and/or state funds for many types of local transportation projects.

For more information, click here.

Caltrans Increases Overall DBE Goal


On January 3, 2019, Caltrans announced that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has significantly increased the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Annual Overall Participation Goal to 17.6 percent on federally funded transportation projects in California.

The new goal will apply to federally funded contracts entered between the federal fiscal years of 2019-2021.  The past six years have brought a 30-percent increase in DBE participation on department contracts. Caltrans says it is taking steps to ensure this upward trend continues.

To read more about this increase, click here.

Evans Landscaping Guilty On All Counts of DBE Fraud

A federal jury has found Doug Evans, owner of Evans Landscaping, and his vice president, Jim Bailey, guilty on all counts in a wire fraud case. Evans and Bailey were charged with committing wire fraud and misprision of a felony in setting up a dummy company, Ergon, to win minority contracts worth millions of dollars from the City of Cincinnati.

According to the indictment, Evans Landscaping is not certified and does not qualify as a “small business enterprise,” a “minority business enterprise,” or economically disadvantaged under the regulations set forth by federal, state or local government programs.

Evans faces more than 100 years in jail if convicted on all counts of conspiracy and wire fraud.

Read more, here.

Man Convicted of Exploiting USDOT DBE Program

Stamatios Kousisis and his employer, Alpha Painting and Construction, Inc., were found guilty by a jury of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, three counts of wire fraud, and 10 counts of making false statements. The illegal scheme involved the formation of a joint venture between two non-DBE painting companies, Alpha Painting and Construction and Liberty Maintenance, Inc.

Kousisis concocted a scheme to obtain and keep two Pennsylvania Department of Transportation contracts to rehabilitate two bridges in the Philadelphia area, the Girard Point Bridge and the 30th Street Station Bridge. These contracts required Kousisis to use a qualified DBE to provide supplies for those projects. Operating through a joint venture between Liberty Maintenance and Alpha Painting, Kousisis employed a pass-through company, Markias, to give the appearance that they had contracted with a legitimate minority “regular dealer” when, in reality, Markias performed no legitimate or economically useful function.

To read more, click here.