Monday, August 19, 2013

Guilty plea in the Gardenview Estates project

Construction at the Gardenview Estates site in July, 2006
Photo by Frank Nemecek
The former vice president of a Detroit based construction management firm entered a plea of guilty today as part of the ongoing federal investigation and prosecution involving the Gardenview Estates public housing project in the Warrendale area of Detroit, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced this afternoon. The Gardenview Estates project was built on the site of the former Herman Gardens public housing project.

McQuade was joined in the announcement by Robert D. Foley, III, Special Agent In Charge of the Detroit Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); Randall Ashe, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division (EPA-CI); and Barry McLaughlin, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-Office of Inspector General (HUD-OIG).

Calvin Hall, 45, of Detroit, entered the guilty plea in U.S. District Court before Judge David M. Lawson.

According to court documents, Hall and others prepared and submitted a proposal for XCEL Construction Services Inc. that included false information. Based upon the false documents, XCEL Construction Services Inc. was awarded a contract worth more than $11 million to act as the construction manager of the infrastructure phase of the Garden View Estates public housing project, which was funded by a $24 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. At the time, Hall was the vice president of XCEL Construction Services.

During the plea hearing, Hall stated that he conspired with Michael Woodhouse, the president of XCEL Construction Services Inc., and Bobby W. Ferguson, the founder and original owner of XCEL Construction Services Inc.

U.S. Attorney McQuade said in a prepared statement, "We hope that this conviction will deter people from committing fraud against public housing programs, which are intended to provide housing to needy people in our community.”

FBI Special Agent in Charge Foley added, "Those who use false documents to receive millions of dollars in government contracts will face severe consequences for their illegal acts. The FBI will remain committed to pursuing and prosecuting such criminals."

HUD-OIG Special Agent in Charge McLaughlin said, “The funds for this project were dedicated to improve the quality of life for Detroit’s neediest families. Working with our law enforcement partners, the Office of Inspector General for HUD will redouble our efforts to combat the fraud that limits that opportunity.”

Under the plea agreement, Hall faces up to 18 months of imprisonment as well as a fine of up to $40,000. In addition, Hall agreed to forfeit more than $2.2 million in assets, including multiple bank accounts and certificates of deposit seized from XCEL Construction Services Inc. during the course of the federal investigation.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys J. Michael Buckley, Bruce Judge, and Rita Foley.
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