City of Miami Awards Six-Figure Contract to Company Owner Charged With Felony Fraud

Categories: Crime
tonycrapp.JPG
City Manager Tony Crapp Jr.
​In October 2009, prosecutors charged George Munne, the owner of local construction firm American Earth Movers (AEM), with felony organized fraud. His crime: Paying kickbacks to a minority contractor who never did any work, all so his firm could meet county standards on a big-money project in Virginia Key.

Fast-forward to this past February 9, when Miami City Manager Tony Crapp Jr. awarded a $178,993 contract to improve a canal near Kennedy Park to none other than AEM -- all while Munne's felony charges are still technically open. Should the city be awarding six-figure contracts to firms whose owners face fraud charges?

Sure, says Ken Robertson, the city's director of purchasing: "There was, and is, no reason for the city not to conduct business with American Earth Movers."

The reason: Munne has agreed to a pretrial diversion program that will erase the charges if he keeps his nose clean and performs community service until May or so. "The taxpayers' interest is in awarding the job to the lowest bid," says Ira Loewy, Munne's attorney.

Munne was arrested in '09 after prosecutors learned that a subcontractor, Pabon Engineering, had submitted more than $300,000 of invoices on a Virginia Key project without doing any work.

They say Munne agreed to pay Pabon a kickback to file false paperwork so he could fulfill a county requirement that 19 percent of the project's cost go to minority contractors.

"People aren't doing their jobs, or people who are in charge of those people don't care. Either way, it's bad," State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle told the Miami Herald at the time.

This past December, Munne submitted a bid to the City of Miami for the canal project. The bid form includes a question about whether his firm "is currently under investigation by any law enforcement agency." Munne's answer: N/A.

But Munne had no intent to mislead the city, Loewy says. In fact, he included a copy of his diversion agreement, which stipulates that if he carries out a six-figure restoration project in Oleta State Park for free as community service, the felony charges will be dropped later this year.

That was good enough for city officials, Robertson says. And it should be good enough for taxpayers, Loewy adds.

"This was a very fair resolution to his criminal charges," he says. "Anyone complaining about him getting the canal project at this point is probably a higher bidder just looking to make more money off the city."

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6 comments
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Andre Johnson
Andre Johnson

So now we see where the 65 million dollars went

JC
JC

WHAT DOES THE 65 MILLION HAVE TO DO WITH THIS SMARTY WHAT THE CONTRACTOR TOOK THEM ALSO WHAT AN IDIOT YOU ARE TALK WITH FACTS NOT B.S.

jOHN
jOHN

Oh and your Tony Crapp is exactly tagged properly he is crap.

jOHN
jOHN

Miami is as crooked as they come. Letting a contractor off the hook for fraud, if he does a park project for free, removes his felony charges, that is why Florida is the stupid ass state. If I was, and thank god I am not a citizen of Miami I would be really pissed off at how the city conducts business. This whole State Of Florida Needs to be investigated for corruption. The good ole boy mentality of a bunch of out or control rednecks at their finest. Sick Basturds.

JC
JC

You are just one pist off asshle if you would read the complete story and understand that no one has stolen any money or defrauded anyone taxpayers money nor not completed and fullfilled any contract IF ANYTHING THEY GO WAY BEYOND THE SCOPE TO COMPLETE ANY CONTRACT

Josef
Josef

No, Chicago and the State of Illinois is. Ever heard of "patronage politics"? How about the "Democratic Machine" long controlled by the Daley family? The "good ole boys" have a lot to learn.

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