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Troy Caruso (left), CEO of McAlpine Conacting, Inc, a non-union builder, has been accused by the US Attorney Southern District of New York of issuing cash bribes to win construction bids. -- The Chester Telegraph

The United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York has charged the CEO and the Executive Vice President of the non-union New York company McAlpine Contracting, Inc. with bribing a senior project manager at a real estate services firm in order to obtain contracting work in the city.

 

According to the document issued by US Attorney Damian Williams, the two accused, Troy Caruso and John Nolan, “bribed a senior-level individual at a Fortune 500 company to award their company favorable contracts, resulting in the parties involved fraudulently obtaining millions.” The bid at the center of the accusation was to build a direct-to-patient health services facility.

 

But according to the government, for reasons they did not state, McAlpine should not even have been permitted to bid on this project. But Caruso and Nolan paid $15,000 to an unnamed person to introduce them to an employee at the real estate firm managing the bid process. They then bribed that employee to put their fingers on the scale in favor of the McAlpine bid.

 

From the charge sheet:

“Beginning in or about March 2021 because of the Kickback Scheme, [the employee being bribed] took a series of actions [they] otherwise would not have taken to ensure that the Contracting Company was awarded a pre-construction contract and a construction contract relating to a certain project.”

 

As it turned out, according to the government, Caruso’s company paid nearly $70,000 in bribes and was eventually awarded both a pre-construction contract and a construction contract valued around $3.55 million. Caruso and Nolan allegedly continued to engage with their bribe-takers to obtain additional contracts, allegedly offering them 1% of proceeds from all future projects they could steer to Caruso’s company.

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Troy Caruso and John Nolan, CEO and Executive Vice President of McAlpine Contracting, Inc, allegedly paid their way into a bid process and then bribed a person with influence to direct the bid to their company.

“I think this is much more common that you might imagine”

Union-Built Matters spoke with a construction estimator who was not involved in this particular bid process, but who has been in many bid-fights to win projects in New York. This estimator must deal with non-union contractors and fears his openness on this issue could harm some of those relationships, so he asked to remain anonymous.

 

“The New York City construction bid process is completely [messed] up. There is no transparency. None of us gets to see another contractor’s bid. The only one who sees them all is the decision-maker. And they make their choices behind closed doors,” he said. “It’s a process that just begs for this kind of corruption because you can instantly see how easy it will be to get away with it.”

"The New York construction bid process is completely [messed] up."

 

— Construction project estimator

He added, “Look, this is the project where these two guys got caught. But I have to wonder how long they’ve been doing this. And how many other non-union contractors are winning jobs this way? I think this is much more common that you might imagine.”

 

He finished with a dire warning. “This bid-cheating is a non-union thing. Last year [Manhattan D.A.] Bragg cracked that whole scheme where a bunch of non-union contractors were rigging bids and taking kickbacks. Unions play by the rules, and in the bid process, I think it kind of screws them. But in the end, it’s going to screw New Yorkers. Because projects are being awarded for the wrong reasons to the wrong builders.”

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