Oregon AG pursues racketeering case against bridge builder

Chris Rizo May 10, 2008, 2:32pm

Hardy Myers

SALEM, Ore. (Legal Newsline)- Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers is pursuing a racketeering lawsuit against Ross Bros. & Co. for allegedly trying to defraud the Oregon Department of Transportation out of more than $1.1 million.

The lawsuit, filed in Malheur County Circuit Court, was amended recently to include $381,000 or more in alleged overcharges on the Depot Street Bridge in Rogue River, Ore., in addition to the overcharges originally alleged for a bridge project in Ontario, Ore.

The Brooks, Ore.-based company in 2001 was awarded the contract to build a new bridge over a railroad in Ontario. It has denied any wrongdoing in both the Rogue River and Ontario cases.

The attorney general's office says the company, among other things, inflated costs of the Rogue River project to keep equipment on standby during a construction delay, overbilled for a job superintendent's time and charged extra costs for trucking.

The lawsuit also accuses company President Steven Ross of swearing to false claims, and obstructing and intimidating ODOT staff.

The lawsuit demands triple the amount of actual damages, and punitive damages. It also asks the court to bar Ross from bidding on future public projects.

The state seeks at least $800,000 from Ross in fines for completing the $14.5 million project two years behind schedule.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo by e-mail at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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