Construction execs arrested - $100 million in bid rigging alleged

| 1/16/2004

Four Wisconsin road construction executives were arrested Jan. 13 on bid rigging and wire fraud charges for participating in a conspiracy involving projects let by Wisconsin’s Department of Transportation, the Department of Justice announced.

The projects, which included public road, highway, bridge, street and airport construction, were worth more than $100 million to the state.

“The criminal complaints allege an ongoing conspiracy to rig numerous state road construction projects,” said U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic, the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

The Justice Department alleges that in telephone calls and in-person meetings, the executives shared bid information, discussed potential competitors and agreed to rig bids in an attempt to allocate projects among themselves.

The department also alleges the four submitted rigged bids in electronic format through interstate wire communications from the Eastern District of Wisconsin to Florida. According to unsealed documents, James J. Maples, president of Vinton Construction Co. of Manitowoc, WI; Michael J. Maples, vice president of Vinton; Ernest J. Streu, president of Streu Construction Co. of Two Rivers, WI; and John Streu, secretary and treasurer of Streu; rigged bids submitted to WisDOT and others from as early as 1997 until the present.