05/05/11 Crony Capitalism


Giant construction firm Tutor-Perini had $8.5 billion in revenue the last two years.  The California-based company has received billions of dollars in public works projects at the state and federal level.

The firm and its subsidiaries have also received lucrative contracts in Iraq, Afghanistan and with the Defense Department.  For Tutor-Perini, government business has been good.  Very, very good.

But several divisions of the company have faced fraud and improper billing allegations since the 1990s.  A typical claim is the company underbids competition then makes up the difference in exorbitant cost overruns.

It has been accused on multiple occasions of using front companies to bypass minority contracting rules. It has paid fees, fines and settlements in cases all across the country.

Only weeks ago, a division president was convicted of fraud and conspiracy to launder money involving contracts in New York.

Despite its sketchy history, the company continues to receive hundred million dollar deals from government.

One reason may be Dianne Feinstein [D-CA].  She’s California’s senior U.S. Senator.  She has sat on the Senate Appropriations, Armed Services and Intelligence committees.    She is also the wife of Richard Blum.   Blum owns Tutor-Perini.

It appears no amount of legal difficulties prevents government officials from awarding fat contracts to Tutor-Perini again and again.