Despite Metropolitan Sewer District CEO Greg Heitzman suspending local concrete supplier Advance Ready Mix three weeks ago due to critical preliminary findings from an audit of the company, Advance continued work today on a $1.38 million subcontract for MSD’s Logan Interceptor project, with the agency’s apparent blessing.
On Aug. 24, Heitzman announced that Advance and Bancroft Group were temporarily suspended from further work on MSD construction projects due to the preliminary findings from MSD’s audit of the companies, which found evidence that they had gamed the agency’s supplier diversity program. MSD indicated that their auditors substantiated IL’s investigation from this spring, in which it appeared Bancroft was being used as an illegitimate pass-through shell company to satisfy a minority subcontractor quota on several large MSD projects since 2010, while Advance actually was doing the work.
At that day’s MSD board meeting, Heitzman indicated Advance and Bancroft would no longer be eligible for construction contracts, and MSD would reach out to the prime contractors currently using them to determine how far they are into each project and whether a change order would be needed to replace their concrete supplier. Asked after the meeting if that meant the current subcontracts for Advance and Bancroft would be wiped out, MSD spokesman Steve Tedder said they would, and it would be up to the prime contractors of those projects to replace those services.
Later that week, Tedder indicated MSD still was trying to determine how many current subcontracts Advance had on MSD projects, after which they would contact each prime contractor to determine whether Advance’s work had been completed. On Sept. 2, Tedder told IL that Advance was a subcontractor on eight current projects, including — as IL reported the previous week — the Bells Lane Wet Weather Treatment Facility project, worth $1.1 million, and the Logan CSO Interceptor project, worth $1.38 million.
On Monday afternoon, a source sent IL a photo of an Advance concrete truck washing out after finishing work on the Logan CSO Interceptor project. IL also found an Advance truck laying cement at the project early Monday evening.
Tedder confirmed that Advance was allowed to continue its subcontract work on this project, as “we have not met with (prime contractor Garney Construction) on this project yet.” Garney’s project manager Gary Goff declined to answer IL’s question asking if MSD had given them the green light to use Advance, saying that inquiry should be directed to MSD.
Tedder also indicated that this does not mean Advance’s suspension has been lifted, but “this is a decision of the contractor right now as we have not completed our review yet.”
Noting that MSD sent letters to prime contractors on Aug. 28 stating that those using Advance and Bancroft “will be contacted in the coming week,” IL asked Tedder if MSD has an estimate on when that will actually happen. Tedder replied that MSD is “setting up the individual meetings now.”