The Real Deal New York

Contractor played “minority card” to land $1B in work at 1 WTC

Johnny Garcia admitted to serving as a front for his partner to win lucrative Port Authority contracts

August 04, 2016 08:30AM

1WTC-Oculus

One World Trade Center and Oculus

An Ecuadorian subcontractor said he served as a front for his partner to pull in $1 billion worth of work at One World Trade Center from funds reserved for women- and minority-owned businesses.

Johnny Garcia, who was listed as the president of Solera Construction on applications for Port Authority of New York and New Jersey contracts, said he pocketed $2 million for his role in a scheme with partner Larry Davis of DCM Erectors. When asked what work he did in exchange for the money he told prosecutors, “basically nothing.”

“I basically was playing the minority card,” he testified, according to the New York Post.

Garcia — along with Davis and a woman who worked for Davis, Gale D’Aloia — were charged in a scheme to land women- and minority-owned contracts in 2014. By partnering with Solera, Davis’ DCM Erectors landed two lucrative Port Authority contracts to do work at One World Trade Center and the PATH transit hub. Contracts at the sites totaled $600 million for drafting, engineering and structural work, but over time swelled to about $1 billion.

In addition to being listed as the head of Solera Construction, prosecutors say Garcia along with D’Aloia set up an entity known as GLS Enterprises to land government contracts. Both Garcia and D’Aloia pleaded guilty and are cooperating with authorities.

A lawyer for Davis said Garcia did some work at the World Trade Center project, including attending 10 meetings and traveling to China to inspect construction materials.

In 2014, Davis rejected a plea deal and said he’d stand trial, where he faces up to 20 years if convicted.

Solera and DCM Erectors Inc. partnered on other projects, including the Goldman Sachs building at 200 West Street in Battery Park City and part of the New York Times building. [NYP]E.B. Solomont

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