Former cement company execs arraigned on fraud charges in California

| 5/15/2006

Boston has its Big Dig. Illinois has its Hired Truck. But now, California is adding its name to the list of states with corruption-laden construction projects.

On Thursday, May 11, two employees at the San Francisco-area cement company Pacific Cement were arraigned in San Francisco Superior Court. The two men – former company President Ricardo Ramirez, and his half brother, Reynaldo Nunez – allegedly used substandard concrete in several major construction projects, including work on the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the weaker concrete, which the men allegedly passed off as higher-quality, is made of recycled concrete and old brick rather than crushed rock, which does not meet California’s stringent earthquake-resistance requirements.

Caltrans officials have tested the safety and integrity of the Golden Gate Bridge and have not found any structural problems, the Chronicle reported. However, conclusive tests on the Bay Bridge are not yet finished.

Both men pleaded not guilty to the 14 felony fraud, theft and environmental crimes against them, the Chronicle reported.