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Feds reach $4.25M settlement with southern Indiana contractor

Dave O'Mara Contractors.JPG
Posted at 7:29 PM, Sep 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-10 19:29:28-04

JENNINGS COUNTY — The U.S. Attorney's Office on Thursday announced the federal government has reached a multi-million dollar settlement with a southern Indiana contractor over misleading statements about materials used to pave roads.

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana Josh Minkler on Thursday said his office reached a civil settlement with North Vernon-based Dave O'Mara Contractor Inc. The company has agreed to pay $4.25 million.

"The safety and security of the citizens of Indiana are paramount to this office," Minkler said in a statement. "To risk the safety of the motoring public for the sake of saving money cannot be tolerated. This recovery sends the message that contractors must comply with various applicable state and federal regulations when billing the United States Government, or they will face the consequences of their choices."

The settlement resolves allegations that the company misrepresented materials that it used to pave a number of roads and highways throughout central and southern Indiana. The projects were funded in part by the Federal Highway Administration.

The U.S. Attorney's Office alleges the company said it was including steel slag in its asphalt mixture when it was not. The government alleges that created the false impression the roads paved by the company contained enough binder, or glue, to ensure that they would not prematurely deteriorate.

"It is important to ensure that taxpayers get what they pay for so that the quality of products used in highway transportation projects is not compromised," Andrea M. Kropf, regional special agent-in-charge of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General, said. "Today's settlement sends a message that putting the safety of the traveling public at risk for personal gain is an unacceptable way of conducting business."