Rochester contractor fined $125K for city school construction fraud

The Rochester contractor Pike Co. will pay $125,000 in penalties to settle an allegation that…

The Rochester contractor Pike Co. will pay $125,000 in penalties to settle an allegation that it skirted requirements for hiring minority- or women-owned businesses while renovating Rochester schools; the last in a series of similar settlements engineered by the state Attorney General’s office.

The state accused Pike and nine other contractors of lying when they said they had procured supplies or labor from minority- or women-owned businesses (MWBEs). Instead, the company allegedly bribed MWBEs to serve as pass-throughs when the work was actually done by other companies.

In the case of Pike, according to Attorney General Letitia James, it certified to the state it had bought $846,000 worth of doors and hardware from Scott Construction, an MWBE. In actuality, according to the signed settlement, Pike bought $755,000 worth of the material from Rochester Colonial and had Scott serve as a pass-through.

Pike will pay $100,000 to the state and $25,000 to an anonymous whistleblower, and agreed to various training and oversight provisions.

It is the 10th and last company to come to a similar settlement with the state for a total of $1,379,000.

New York Attorney General Letitia James

“Including minority and women-owned businesses in public projects is meant to give opportunities to communities that have been historically left out, not for contractors to work around them,” James said in a statement. “It’s a shame that the Pike Company and other contractors took the easy way out to minimize work with minority businesses. … I am committed to rooting out fraud and making sure that minority and women-owned businesses get their fair share.”