Bridge builder settles with Oregon attorney general

Chris Rizo Jan. 13, 2009, 11:52am

John Kroger (D)

SALEM, Ore. (Legal Newsline)-A bridge builder has settled racketeering allegations that it tried to defraud the Oregon Department of Transportation out of more than $1.1 million.

The Oregon attorney general's office filed a lawsuit against Ross Bros. & Co. over $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 was awarded the contract in 2001 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 claimed the company, among other things, inflated costs of the Rogue River project to keep equipment on standby during a construction delay, over billed for a job superintendent's time and charged extra costs for trucking.

As a part of the settlement with Attorney General John Kroger's office, company president Steven Ross and four of his companies are permanently barred from engaging in public works contracting in Oregon. The lawsuit had accused Ross of swearing to false claims, and obstructing and intimidating ODOT staff.

The state was seeking triple the amount of actual damages plus punitive damages.

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