This is the first of a three-part series of articles that will address bribery schemes in the construction industry. Each article will discuss the different types of transactions involving bribery and methods of prevention and detection.
Wendell Walters, a former assistant commissioner at the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, pleaded guilty in March 2012 to accepting $2.5 million in bribes. He was arrested in October 2011 on racketeering charges and accused of taking kickbacks from real estate developers in exchange for directing contracts exceeding $22 million to them. In his statement, Walters admitted to helping developers and contractors “get on the approval list” for city contracts in exchange for “cash payments and other benefits.” The Brooklyn U.S. attorney in this case also charged six developers with bribing Walters and demanding kickbacks from contractors. In addition, they have been accused of increasing invoice amounts to absorb the costs of the bribes.
Thorough planning is the most effective way to save time, trouble and money on a construction project. It establishes a baseline for the direction of the project and helps it continue on a straightforward path. Poor planning can negatively impact the project’s scope, schedule and communication, and ultimately drive up costs.
Once a project plan is established—including schedule, cost, scope, quality, procurement, safety, risk and communication plans—it must be revisited frequently to determine if team members are still aligned with objectives or if the plan needs to be recalibrated. A good communication system among the project team is critical to gathering this information regularly. Continue »
A general contractor approached a management consultant with concerns about a two-building apartment project the firm was pursuing. The pre-construction services contract had dragged on for six months and the architect was pushing for final budget figures even though it had not submitted plans for the second building. The contractor wanted to know if the company should sign a $14 million contract for the project. Continue »
In the second Obama administration, employers should expect to see a more active Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). From a regulatory perspective, rules that could impact many employers may be proposed or published in final form. From an enforcement perspective, employers should expect to see the same high level of OSHA enforcement. Continue »
The American tax system allows for voluntary compliance and is regulated at all levels of government using the auditing process. Many state and local governments have tax discovery units that employ creative techniques to uncover businesses that are not filing specific tax returns (e.g., sales and use tax or gross receipts tax) in their jurisdictions. These businesses are then contacted and audited to determine if they have delinquent tax liabilities.
Being prepared for an unexpected call from the tax man can go a long way in reducing potential stress and helping the audit go smoothly. Most tax examinations are based on a random selection of tax filers. Recently, however, audits based on targeted industries or third-party information have been increasing, particularly at the state and local tax levels. Continue »
When an accident occurs on a jobsite, firefighters, emergency personnel and other first responders focus more on helping the injured than preserving valuable evidence. Meanwhile, field workers and supervisors are concerned with continuing to move the job forward. Continue »