PB construction corruption case set to be heard tomorrow

January 03, 2012 03:45PM

Steven White

As the former construction manager for Palm Beach, Steven White routinely contracted the same two firms for public projects, which together kicked back at least $130,000 to White, according to an investigation pieced together by the Palm Beach Post. His case is set to be heard tomorrow in advance of a late February trial.

White normally could not approve contracts on his own, but for small or emergency jobs, he could pick a contractor from a pre-approved list of five firms. Knowing he would be among the only supervisors on the projects, White selected the same two companies, Dee Griffin Earthworks and Chaz Equipment, for nearly 70 percent of the work between 2008 and 2009.

White had Chaz and Dee Griffin overbill their work and split the difference with him, according to the Post. Many of the contracts had change orders, which totaled more than $4.5 million of extra work, and over three years investigators found more than $112,000 in checks White deposited from Dee Griffin. One day in April 2009, a Chaz executive withdrew $25,000 from the firm’s account and within an hour White had deposited the exact same amounto into his personal bank.

Ironically, White’s managers praised his work and wrote that he probably saved Palm Beach from “expensive mistakes”. [Palm Beach Post]