Pretty incredible Rhino article by Paul Clark on the GCS staff-recommended construction manager for the new George Simpkins Elementary School:

The oddity that jumps out is that federal prosecutors in April 2012 filed fraud charges against Lend Lease (formerly Bovis Lend Lease), accusing the company of padding its workers’ hours to the tune of millions of dollars for over a decade, as well as claiming that that work on New York and New Jersey projects was done by minority contractors, when it was secretly done by Lend Lease.

According to the US District Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, Lend Lease, formerly Bovis Lend Lease, in April 2012, admitted, based on “felony information,” to a large fraud scheme in which Bovis overbilled clients for years. The company settled with the government in exchange for deferred prosecution.

And how did Lend Lease make the final three? By promising “to deliver a high degree of minority participation.” And call me cynical for thinking that’s common practices among “teams” of contractors— one white, one black— building schools.

The school board’s architecture committee struck Lend lease from the list, but that said the “meeting was the usual mix of horse trading, racial spoils and favorite playing that goes into any of the committee’s selection of an architect, construction manager or contractor to build or renovate a Guilford County School.”

By the way, I don’t know Lend Lease’s financials, but they need to come up with $56 million to pay out “penalties to the federal government and restitution to victims, and to institute far-reaching corporate reforms designed to eliminate future problems and enforce best industry practices.”