Corruption inevitable when services for the commons are privatized

by Ben Hoffman

A plea deal with one of six people implicated in an Adams County paving fraud scandal opens the door for him to testify against others in a case in which taxpayers were allegedly bilked for $1.8 million in work that wasn’t done.

Heath Russo, 34, agreed to plead guilty to misdemeanor and felony theft charges — and to testify against any others who are charged in the case.

[…]

Russo was one of four officials of Quality Paving who were charged with multiple felony counts in the case. In addition, two Adams County public works officials have been charged in an investigation that is nearly 3 years old and growing.

Among the things now being examined by investigators is work Quality Paving did at the home of Adams County Commissioner Alice Nichol.

[…]

In one year, Russo said, he billed Adams County $750,000 for $500,000 worth of work.

He also said he took landscaping materials to Gomez’s home and saw three Quality Resurfacing employees working at the house during regular work hours.

Russo also said Rhea gave him the company credit card to buy Gomez a Denver Broncos light to hang over his pool table.

Gomez is among those who have been charged.

Court documents also allege that between 2004 and 2007, Quality Paving billed Adams County for more than $1.8 million in work that wasn’t done, including 15 miles of paving on a road that is 10 miles long and a resurfacing project at a location that does not exist.

In 2005, Quality Paving did a $10,000 driveway resurfacing job at Nichol’s home — work that is now being scrutinized as part of the ongoing criminal investigation.

After taking office in January 2005, Nichol voted at least 32 times to grant contracts — or changes that drove up the price of projects — to Quality Paving.

Source

Any time a service for the commons is privatized, corruption runs rampant. Medicare Advantage is a good example, as are the privatized prisons, and the mercenaries who are profiting immensely from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s pure myth that privatizing services for the commons leads to savings and efficiency.

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4 Comments to “Corruption inevitable when services for the commons are privatized”

  1. A plea deal with one of six people implicated in an Adams County paving fraud scandal opens the door for him to testify against others in a case in which taxpayers were allegedly bilked for $1.8 million in work that wasn’t done.

    There are crooks and liars everywhere. You don’t even have to leave Chuck Rangel’s office to see that. They exist in construction and in education and in shipping and in churches and in government and police stations. Being a private entity doesnn’t draw criminals.

    What this example DOES show, however, is the gross negligence of government officials watching over the people’s money. If that was you or I managing that project for our own private concern, there is no WAY he would have been able to do that.

    The problem isn’t private crooks. It’s government oversight; or lack there of.

    • [You don’t even have to leave Chuck Rangel’s office to see that. ]

      Yep, that’s the right-wing talking point. There are plenty of Republicans sitting in prison right now because of corruption, but you choose a Democrat who wasn’t even convicted of a crime to make your point.

      [If that was you or I managing that project for our own private concern, there is no WAY he would have been able to do that.]

      When was the last time somebody went out and paved a city street for their “own private concern?”

      • When was the last time somebody went out and paved a city street for their “own private concern?”

        Oh it just happens Ben, Utopian Libertarianism at its finest. Wealth won’t concentrate either, nor will a Darwinian conception of healthcare…

  2. Trust Governments!!! They are Never Corrupt. Ever!

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