Lehr Construction Corporation, 4 Executives Charged With Fraud

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A leading New York City construction company and four executives have been charged with bilking banks, The Economist magazine and other clients out of more than $30 million through an overbilling scheme.

1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reports: Lofty Profits, Lofty Fraud

Lehr Construction Corp. and vice presidents Jeffrey Lazar and Todd Phillips, finance director Steven Halper and estimating chief Steven Wasserman pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges including racketeering. The men were released on $150,000 bond.

“This was a systematic, across-the-board practice,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said.

New York-based Lehr oversees interior renovations. Prosecutors say the company had subcontractors pad their bids and purchase orders, then collected the difference.

WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond: Clients Included Fidelity Investments And The Economist

“The theft might have been a relatively modest amount of money but it was used routinely in all their construction management contracts,” Vance said.

A lawyer for Lehr said the company will complete its projects and pay its bills despite the charges. The company filed for bankruptcy protection in February.

Phillips’ lawyer says he “looks forward to being vindicated at trial.” The other defendants declined to comment.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

More from Juliet Papa
  • marx engels

    Now the D.A. and the NYS AG should start investigating public works construction, like Sweetheart deals between public agencies and consultants and contractors. The MTA, LIRR, SCA, have what are called “on-call” contracts which are supposed to save the public the expense of a gainfully employed full-time civil service worker w / fringes, benefits, and pension. In reality, this is a perpetual fraud and these favored “consultants” are full-time. When the contract expires, the public agencies and their contract administrators just write a new contract tailor-made to the consultant they wish to keep whose credentials cannot be matched, LiRo and STV to name a few…

  • HooDatIS?


  • Tommy

    This is another NYC witch hunt. I have been working as a subcontractor for Lehr for more than 20 years. I have never been asked by their personnel to do anything unethical or illegal – not once. Lehr did beautiful high end commercial interiors, always on time and with few problems. They also use Union subcontractors whom provide good paying jobs with good benefits for the workers. This is more than can be said for most of today’s interior contractors in NY- many of whom use illegal immigrant day laborers and run unsafe jobsites. What a shame.

  • out of the mouth of babes

    Aren’t all construction companies involved with the Italian mafia ? What’s new ?

    • Frank Rizzo

      look at the names listed in the article, do you see any Italian names?

    • james

      The names mentioned in the article dont sound Italian to me. Are you as foolish as you sound? Or, just a coward?

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