Concrete Products

MAR 2019

Concrete Products covers the issues that attract producers of ready mixed and manufactured concrete focusing on equipment and material technology, market development and management topics.

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A case involving alleged False Claims Act violations and Pennsylvania precaster Universal Concrete Products Corp. is drawing to a close in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria. It unfolded over three years from claims of an ex-quality control techni- cian-turned-whistleblower who is now on track to share in "recoveries" from his former employer and colleagues. Through an agreement with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, Universal Concrete and Donald Faust, Jr., president and co-owner, will pay $1 million to settle allegations that the producer was party to submission of falsified precast panel mix test records under a Dulles Metrorail Project Phase II contract in northern Virginia. The producer held a $6 million contract with Capitol Rail Constructors, a joint venture of Clark Construction and Kiewit Infrastructure South, to fabricate 1,500-plus pre- cast panels for Phase II, or Silver Line Extension, rail stations. The contract stipulated air contents of 4.5 percent to 7.5 percent for the panel mixes, per Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute guidelines of 6 percent ± 1.5 percent entrained air. Court documents contend some panels were fabricated with mixes measured at air content below 4 percent. On behalf of the U.S. Department of Transportation, which administered Silver Line Extension project funds, and the Commonwealth of Virginia, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia filed a civil complaint alleging False Claims Act violations by Universal Concrete and former Quality Control Manager Andrew Nolan. The latter pleaded guilty in August 2018 to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, a charge connected to falsifying air content measure- ments for Silver Line precast panel mixes. Whistleblower Nathan Davidheiser, a former Universal Concrete quality control employee, reportedly observed Nolan altering air test records to reflect contract compliance. His 2016 suit was filed in U.S. District Court under False Claims Act and Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act provisions that allow private individuals to sue on behalf of the government. Settlement of his case will factor into a Department of Justice revenue center, which for fiscal 2018 cited $2 billion-plus in False Claims Act recoveries. "The Act was originally passed in response to rampant fraud perpetrated against the United States military during the Civil War. Back then, crooked contractors defrauded the Union Army by selling it sick mules, lame horses, sawdust instead of gunpowder, and rotted ships with fresh paint," said Assis- tant Attorney General Jody Hunt upon release of 2018 False Claims recovery figures. "What we see today is a modern version of the same thing—fraudulent practices directed at the U.S. government and American taxpayer." The Act is the government's primary civil remedy to redress false claims for federal funds and property involving a multitude of operations and contracts, the Justice Department notes. Congress strengthened the law in 1986 by increasing incentives for whistleblowers to file lawsuits alleging false claims on behalf of the government. Dubbed qui tam, whistleblower actions like those of Nathan Davidheiser represent a significant percentage of False Claims cases. Under 1986 revisions, a whistleblower can receive up to 30 percent of a case recovery—not bad for a precast plant quality control staffer. Concrete quality control technology is approaching an era of automated test result reporting, as indicated in this month's ForneyVault review (page 54). Agencies and contractors adopting this and future tools will make it more difficult for quality control managers to stretch concrete mix or specimen parameters to which they are bound. Technology might just reign in instances of manager fudging and employee finking. EDITORIAL BY DON MARSH SEMCO PUBLISHING CORPORATE OFFICE 8751 East Hampden Avenue, Suite B-1 Denver, Colorado 80231 U.S.A. P: +1.303.283.0640 F: +1.303.283.0641 PRESIDENT/PUBLISHER Peter Johnson, EDITOR Don Marsh, ASSOCIATE EDITOR Josephine Patterson, PRODUCTION MANAGER Dan Fitts, GRAPHIC DESIGNER Michael Florman, PROJECT MANAGER Tanna Holzer, CIRCULATION Juanita Walters, SALES U.S., CANADA SALES Bill Green, Tel +1 414 212 8266 GERMANY SALES Gerd Strasmann, Tel +49 2191 93 1497 SCANDiNAVIA, UNITED KINGDOM AND WESTERN EUROPE SALES Jeff Draycott, Tel +44 (0) 786 6922148 Colm Barry, Tel +46 (0) 736 334670 JAPAN SALES Masao Ishiguro, Tel +81 (3) 3719 0775 AUSTRALIA/ASIA SALES Lanita Idrus, Tel +61 3 9006 1742 Concrete Products, Volume 72, Issue 3, (ISSN 0010-5368, USPS 128-180) is published monthly by Mining Media Inc., dba Semco Publishing, 10 Sedgwick Drive, Englewood, Colorado 80113. Periodicals postage paid at Englewood Colorado, and additional mailing offices. Canada Post Publications Mail Agreement No. 40845540. Canada return address: Station A, PO Box 54, Windsor ON N9A 6J5, Current and back issues and additional resources, including subscription request forms and an editorial calander, are available online at SUBSCRIPTION RATES: Free and controlled circulation to qualified subscribers. Non-qualified persons may subscribe at the following rates: USA and Canada, 1 year $72.00, 2 year $119.00, 3 year $161.00. For subscriber services or to order single copies, write to Concrete Products, 8751 East Hampden Avenue, Suite B1, Denver, Colorado 80231 USA; call +1.303.283.0640 ext. 207 (USA) or visit ARCHIVES AND MICROFORM: This magazine is available for research and retrieval of selected archived articles from leading electronic databases and online search services, including Factiva, LexisNexis, and ProQuest. For microform availability, contact ProQuest at 800-521-0600 or +1.734-761-4700, or search the Serials in Microform listings at POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Concrete Products, PO Box 828, Northbrook, IL 60065-0828. REPRINTS: Concrete Products, 8751 East Hampden Avenue, Suite B1, Denver, CO 80231 USA; P: +1.303.283.0640 ext. 207, F: 1+303.283.0641, PHOTOCOPIES: Authorization to photocopy articles for internal corporate, personal, or instructional use may be obtained from the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) at +1.978.750.8400. To obtain further information, visit COPYRIGHT 2019: Concrete Products ALL RIGHTS RESERVED Circuation audited by Official Media Partner 4 • March 2019 False Claims Act meets air entrainment

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