BOSTON (Legal Newsline) — Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy has announced that Level 3 Communications LLC (Level 3) has agreed to pay more than $8 million after allegations it breached its contract with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT).

MassDOT and Level 3 have had a contract since 2000 that allows Level 3 to install and maintain conduits to run fiber optic cables alongside several Massachusetts highways. To do so, Level 3 must pay rent to MassDOT. According to the charges, Level 3 breached its contract and violated the state’s False Claims Act by concealing amounts owed to MassDOT and knowingly avoiding annual rent obligations.

“We allege this company intentionally took steps to avoid paying the rent owed to MassDOT under their agreement,” Healey said. “Taxpayer dollars are at stake when a state agency doesn’t get the money it is owed. Our office will hold accountable companies that attempt to short change state agencies and continue to make sure they are operating within Massachusetts law.”

Level 3 will pay $7 million immediately to the commonwealth and $1.2 million over the next four years.

“We very much appreciate the Attorney General’s Office representation in helping us to recover the money owed to MassDOT,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “MassDOT must receive appropriate compensation for the use of its property and the attorney general’s actions have assured that MassDOT lessees comply with their obligations.”

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