UPDATE: Nov. 2, 2020: Vito Nigro, former project manager for Turner Construction Co., pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion last week in connection with his role in a $15 million pay-to-play scheme involving Bloomberg LLC projects, including a major renovation at the financial company's Manhattan headquarters.
Prosecutors said Nigro, from 2011 into 2017, did not pay taxes on more than $1.8 million he received in cash, services and materials for his home and other expensive gifts in exchange for awarding subcontractors work.
Nigro is the last of a group of four former Turner and Bloomberg executives to pleaded guilty to tax evasion, and all four have pleaded guilty to related charges, including grand larceny, in state court. His sentencing is set for March.
- Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance announced on Tuesday that three former construction executives have pleaded guilty to grand larceny charges after they conspired to steal $15 million from Bloomberg LP during the renovation of the financial services giant's New York City headquarters. A fourth also pleaded guilty to money laundering.
- Prosecutors said that the four — Anthony Guzzone and Michael Campana, formerly of Bloomberg, and Ronald Olson and Vito Nigro, formerly of Turner Construction — submitted inflated subcontractor bids, fake work orders and change orders to Bloomberg and also misappropriated funds intended to cover subcontractor allowances during interior construction at the Bloomberg building. The four gave inside information to subcontractors and also falsified a Women's Business Enterprise application, so that certain subcontractors could secure lucrative work, and, in exchange, were paid cash and other bribes.
- Nigro and Olson will serve as little as one year in state prison with a potential maximum of nine years. Guzzone will spend three to nine years in state prison and Campana will spend one year for the money laundering charge. Campana must also pay $239,800 in restitution.
Construction companies like Turner have many policies in place in order to prevent illegal and unethical behavior on their projects, but, Nigro and Olson reportedly side-stepped those safeguards. Neither Bloomberg nor Turner has been accused of wrongdoing in the case.
"The former Turner employees betrayed our company, their fellow employees and our core values of honesty and integrity," Turner said in a statement to Construction Dive. "Turner has actively cooperated with law enforcement throughout the investigation and applaud their efforts in prosecuting these individuals."
Vance also said that so far, 22 others — owners and executives of subcontracting companies, as well as other vendors — have been charged and pleaded guilty for paying the bribes, participating in bid rigging, falsifying business records and money laundering and have paid almost $9 million in restitution.
The Bloomberg case developed after New York authorities, led by Vance's office, launched an investigation into corruption in the city's interior construction industry. Prosecutors estimated that crimes similar to the ones that occurred on the Bloomberg project totaled approximately $100 million and have contributed to spiraling costs of construction in New York City.
Olson, Nigro, Guzzone and Campana have also been charged in federal court for not paying taxes on the illegal proceeds. All but Nigro have pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion. While each charge carries a maximum of five years in prison, Campana has already been sentenced to two years in federal prison and three years of supervised release and must pay a $10,000 fine. He has already paid $155,000 in unpaid taxes.