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Electrical Contractor Settles With NYC For $10 Million; Executives Indicted

Gavel (file / credit: clipart.com)

Gavel (file / credit: clipart.com)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Schlesinger-Siemens Electrical LLC will shell out $10 million to New York City, following claims that the contractor lied about its qualifications to win more than $200 million in contracts to improve city infrastructure.

Prosecutors announced the settlement Monday. It included a deferred prosecution agreement.

In addition, two members of the firm’s board managers were facing criminal charges Monday. Robert Solomon, 74, and Jacob Levita, 62, were indicted Monday for allegedly defrauding the city’s Department of Buildings and Department of Environmental Protection, by falsely claiming the firm employed a master electrician, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office said.

Between 2005 and 2008, the company “was not in compliance with the Electrical Code because it did not properly employ a Master Electrician who had responsibility for supervising employees conducting electrical work on DEP projects,” prosecutors said in a statement.

Prosecutors said the firm, which is controlled by the German engineering company, Siemens AG, also “overstated the participation of minority businesses” in order to evade the city’s minority and women-owned contract requirements.

Solomon and Levita both pleaded not guilty to the charges at their arraignment on Monday.

“Mr. Levita vigorously denies the charges against him,” attorney Avraham C. Moskowitz said. “He looks forward to being vindicated by a jury of his fellow New Yorkers.”

Solomon’s attorney, Sarah Steiner, declined to comment.

The fraud was uncovered during an investigation of the Croton Water Filtration Plant in the Bronx. The $3.2 billion public works project has been plagued by cost overruns, complaints of mismanagement and community criticism.

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