State not doing business with indicted firm

Saturday, August 21, 2004

The Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- A construction company indicted on charges of bid-rigging can no longer bid for Missouri projects, state transportation officials said Friday.

Federal prosecutors indicted APAC-Missouri Inc. and vice president Donald G. Mantle last week on a charge of conspiracy in restraint of trade. The company has won more than $300 million worth of work with the state Department of Transportation in the past few years, much of it still underway.

APAC-Missouri is a subsidiary of Ashland Inc., which is based in Kentucky. An Ashland spokeswoman said the company had no comment.

Missouri Department of Transportation spokesman Jeff Briggs said Friday the agency has decided not to allow APAC to bid on any more work, but it will continue with projects that are already under way.

"We suspended APAC-Missouri from bidding on jobs that are currently being considered or future jobs," he said.

He said the move was made on the advice of local Federal Highway Administration officials and would be reviewed when the federal case is resolved.

Officials in the federal office's Missouri division did not return a call seeking comment.

The commission decided later Friday that the four other bids it received for the Hollister project were too costly, so the project will be rebid.

APAC-Missouri is accused of conspiring with another construction company, which submitted a higher bid for a highway project in exchange for a $2.9 million subcontract from APAC-Missouri after that company won the bid.

APAC-Missouri faces a maximum fine of $10 million and Mantle, who was responsible for the company's bidding decisions, faces up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $350,000 if convicted.

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