Category Archives: DBE Compliance

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:

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.

2018 Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Conference

The US Department of Transportation Small Business Transportation Resource Center – Southwest Region in conjunction with the California Asian Chamber of Commerce is hosting the 2nd Annual Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Conference in Los Angeles on December 5, 2018.

The conference will provide an opportunity for small businesses to network and make connections with over thirty exhibitors, including state agencies, private corporations, and prime contractors.

The conference will have two-panel discussions:

-The first panel will discuss current procurement opportunities with Siemens and Skanska.

-The second-panel discussion will consist of DBE firm owners who will be speaking about growing their business, how they overcame challenges/barriers and how they continue to grow their company.

To register, click here.

New Jersey Contractor Pays $1.87 Million to Resolve DBE Fraud

Kiewit Contractors, Inc. has agreed to pay $1.87 million to resolve allegations that the company improperly reported Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) participation on a federally funded construction contract. In 2009, the company entered into a $63.8 million contract with New York State Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) to design and implement Phase II of the Atlantic Avenue Viaduct Rehabilitation Project.  Under this contract, Kiewit was required to subcontract with DBEs and establish goals to ensure the contractors made “good faith efforts” to achieve these goals.

Kiewit then entered into an $11.9 million subcontract with Iron Eagle Construction Corp., a then DBE-certified steel erection company, to furnish and install steel spans. The United States asserts that Kiewit did not take contractually mandated steps to address Iron Eagle’s failure to perform a commercially useful function and that it failed to meet its DBE obligations under the contract.

To read the full story, click here.


Business Owner Pays $630K for DBE Fraud

Nicholas Rivecca Sr., owner of Sonag Ready Mix, LLC, has agreed to pay $629,732 to resolve allegations that the company violated the False Claims Act by defrauding the United States Department of Transportation’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program. The government alleges that Rivecca conspired to obtain a fraudulent DBE certification under the company, Nuvo Construction Company. With this certification, Rivecca obtained ready mix concrete contracts, performing the work with his company, Sonag Ready Mix, LLC.

To read the full story, click here.

Feds Investigate Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority

The Federal Transit Authority is investigating the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) after they received a complaint that the authority may have violated rules involving minority and women-owned businesses.  In a contract MV Transportation had with MARTA, the business agreed to a 20% DBE goal with minority-owned business, Gresham Transportation Services. However, Gresham says they never received the work promised to them.  While MV Transportation claims that Gresham failed to obtain the necessary insurance to do the work, Gresham says that MV Transportation failed to provide the work and the revenue that the company needed to pay for the insurance.

To read the full story, click here.