Bloomberg, Turner Construction executives to be charged in overbilling scheme

Bills were hiked by tens of millions of dollars, DA's office says

731 Lexington Avenue (Credit: Vornado)
731 Lexington Avenue (Credit: Vornado)

More than a dozen executives at Bloomberg L.P., Turner Construction and their subcontracting companies are accused of running a scheme that overcharged Bloomberg for renovation work by tens of millions of dollars.

Anthony Guzzone, the former global head of construction at Bloomberg, and two former Turner executives are expected to be indicted Tuesday on fraud, theft and bribery charges, the New York Times reported. As part of the scheme, company executives and subcontractors allegedly agreed to inflate contracts and pocket proceeds for work that wasn’t actually performed. The alleged pay-to-play scheme involved interior renovation work at Bloomberg’s offices, including its headquarters at 731 Lexington Avenue.

Turner and Bloomberg aren’t facing any charges and have said that the scheme was the result of “rogue” employees acting on their own.

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In October 2017, state officials and investigators from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office raided the offices of Turner and Bloomberg. After the raids, Guzzone and top executives in Turner’s interior construction division — Ronald Olson and Vito Negro — were fired.

“Mr. Guzzone has had an unblemished life and a distinguished career,” his attorney, Alex Spiro, told the Times. “We will fight any allegation against him.”

In July, Javier Paulino, a former Bloomberg facilities manager, pleaded guilty to accepting bribes and stealing more than $1 million from the company by overcharging for interior work, which is a $9.4 billion industry in New York. He’s now cooperating with authorities.

Guzzone allegedly had a close relationship with the owners of New Jersey-based contractor Litespeed Electric, who are expected to surrender to authorities on Tuesday. [NYT] — Kathryn Brenzel