Investigative Products Issued Fiscal Year 2018-2019

06/27/2019
152-17071
Conflict of Interest
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) received a complaint that alleged a department employee instructed a consultant employee to give special consideration during audits of particular contracts. According to the complainant, the employee's spouse was involved in the oversight and compliance of the affected contracts. It was further alleged that the employee demonstrated a conflict of interest at a time when the employee's spouse was a direct report to the employee. Based on interviews conducted and records reviewed, it was proved that the employee presented a conflict of interest in the handling of the contract audits, and by supervising their spouse. Additionally, during the course of the investigation, it was determined the employee improperly forwarded department emails to a personal email address and did not recuse themselves when serving on a Technical Review Committee wherein their spouse had involvement in the awarded contract.

06/27/2019
152-18017
Misuse of Department Resources
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) received a complaint that alleged a department employee used work time to conduct personal business and used social media to market for-profit businesses. It was further alleged the employee falsified hours worked on their timesheet and was collecting monetary donations from department consultants, as well as allowing consultants to pay for their lunch. Based on interviews conducted and records reviewed, there was no evidence found to support the allegations. The OIG did determine that the employee used their work computer to access personal email accounts, in violation of department policy.

06/26/2019
152-17155
Misuse of Department Resources
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) received a complaint that alleged a department employee purchased disallowed tangible items for personal use through a department maintenance contract. Based on interviews conducted, there was no evidence to support or refute the allegation that the employee was purchasing the items for personal use outside of the department. It was determined that the employee was circumventing the department's purchasing process by purchasing disallowed and non-contractual items. Additionally, issues related to inventory control and the procurement approval process were identified by the OIG and brought to management's attention.

6/24/2019
152-19112
Misconduct
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) received an anonymous complaint which alleged department employees were selling and using drugs while on department projects. Based on interviews conducted, there was no evidence to support the allegation, therefore the matter was administratively closed.

5/22/2019
152-18059
Misuse of Department Resources
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) received a complaint from District Management, who reported that a department employee was misusing their assigned department vehicle. Additionally, it was alleged that the employee was not recording time worked correctly in their daily log book. Based on interviews conducted, documents reviewed, and the employee's admission, the OIG determined the allegations that the employee misused department resources and made inaccurate entries in their log book was proved.

05/20/2019
150-18127
Local Area Program Bid Rigging
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) received a complaint from a product supplier, currently on the department's Approved Product List, alleging bid rigging of a Local Area Program grant contract awarded to a county. Additionally, it was alleged that there was improper contact by a county procurement official during the "cone of silence" phase of the procurement process. Based on interviews conducted and documents reviewed the OIG found no evidence to support the allegations and the case was administratively closed.

03/27/2019
150-18114
False Inspection Documents
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) received a complaint from a former department employee alleging that a contractor submitted fraudulent inspection reports on a department project. Based on interviews conducted, documents reviewed, and proactive corrective actions by the district, the OIG found no evidence to support the allegation and the case was administratively closed.

03/26/2019
152-18125
Unfair Hiring Practices
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) received an anonymous complaint wherein the complainant expressed concern regarding unfair hiring practices. Specifically, the complainant alleged that a department employee did not meet the minimum qualifications of having a high school diploma or equivalent as stated in the job advertisement. The OIG initiated an investigation, and based on interviews conducted and documents reviewed, it was determined the employee met the minimum education qualifications for the advertised position. During the investigation, the OIG discovered the department employee did provide related false information on previous State of Florida employment applications. These findings were reported to management for action deemed appropriate.

12/28/2018
152-18019
Gratuities and Conflict of Interest
An anonymous complainant reported to the Florida Department of Transportation (department), Office of Inspector General (OIG) that certain department employees were accepting gratuities such as gifts and lunches from two department contractors in exchange for work. Additionally, the complainant reported that a department employee may be improperly impacting bid selections through their staffing of Technical Review Committees (TRC). During this investigation, the OIG learned that a department employee accepted lunch from a contractor seeking to secure a contract with the department. No benefit was received by the contractor. Based on the interviews conducted and documents reviewed, the OIG found no evidence to support or refute the allegation that department employees were accepting gratuities, gifts and/or lunches in exchange for work; therefore, this issue is categorized as inconclusive. Based on interviews of TRC members, no evidence was found to support that a department employee attempted to influence the TRC selection process, therefore, this related issue is categorized as disproved. Based on interviews, and their admission, the developed issue that a department employee accepted lunch from a contractor seeking to secure a contract with the department is proved.

12/11/2018
150-18072
Misuse of Funds
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) received information wherein a complainant reported concerns regarding payments to a subcontractor for maintenance services. According to the complainant, a local transit authority made payments to a subcontractor for the maintenance of railway cars over a ten-year period, and was paid approximately 3 to 5 million dollars. The complainant alleged that the subcontractor did not perform the maintenance services for which they were paid. The preliminary inquiry determined the funding for the transit authority’s contract with the subcontractor was not distributed by the department and did not include state funds. The OIG preliminary inquiry determined that the authority is aware of and addressing the complaint. The OIG also confirmed that the Federal Transit Administration conducts a tri-annual review of federal funds received by the transit authority. Due to the funding stream, the OIG does not have jurisdiction over this complaint; therefore, further inquiry will not be conducted and is administratively closed.

11/21/2018
152-18069
Falsification of Records
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) received an anonymous complaint wherein a department employee was reported to have created a forged Earthwork Density Verification Test (VT) Logbook. It was reported that the department employee recreated the VT logbook by copying entries from a Quality Control (QC) logbook to replace the original VT logbook that was lost in an office move. This preliminary inquiry found that management was aware of the lost VT logbook, and therefore relied on QC logbook. Management also documented that the VTs were performed as required. It was also confirmed that under circumstances like this, the practice followed was acceptable. Based on interviews conducted and records reviewed, the OIG found no evidence to support the allegation that a department employee falsified documents for the logbook. Additionally, there was no evidence found to suggest the documenting of the earthwork testing was inconsistent with department policies and procedures in place for missing documentation. These findings were provided to department management and the preliminary inquiry was administratively closed.

11/21/2018
152-18049
Misuse of Funds
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) received a complaint forwarded from the Chief Inspector General’s Office wherein a complainant reported concerns regarding funds identified in the Department’s Five Year Work Program. Specifically, the complainant reported that funds were being held in the Work Program’s Reserve Box, and questioned the department’s statutory authority to hold these funds in reserve. Based on records reviewed and interviews conducted, the OIG found no evidence to suggest that the department is not complying with applicable policies and statutory guidelines in the administration of the Department’s Five Year Work Program. The findings were provided to department management, and this preliminary inquiry was administratively closed.

11/8/2018
152-18052
Conflict of Interest in Product Approval Process
Department management reported to the Office of Inspector General (OIG) that a department employee may have improperly requested to have products removed from the Approved Product List (APL). The employee had accepted a position with a firm that provided a product related to the items they wished to remove from the APL, and it was believed this may have motivated their actions. Additionally, it was reported they employee was in the process of finalizing a half-million-dollar contract for a vendor who was affiliated with the firm they accepted employment with. Based on interviews conducted and records reviewed, the OIG found no evidence to support the allegation that the now former department employee improperly requested to have items removed from the APL. Additionally, it was found that the firm the employee was hired by was not affiliated with the vendor that received the contract. The inquiry revealed that the department office responsible for the APL lacked procedures for the removal of products from the APL. These findings were provided to department management and the preliminary inquiry was administratively closed.

11/5/2018
152-17076
Conflict of Interest in the Procurement Process
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) received an anonymous complaint alleging that a department employee and their sibling were acting in concert to facilitate contracts to the sibling’s company. The complainant cited department contracts already awarded to the company, as well as an advertisement for which they were shortlisted. The complainant also alleged the department employee personally handled the Technical Review Committee (TRC) that graded the proposals for one of the awarded contracts. Additionally, it was alleged that the sibling, who previously worked for the department, had managed a contract, and upon leaving the department, became a subcontractor to the contract holder. The complainant also reported that TRC members may have been influenced in awarding contracts to the sibling’s company. Based on the interviews conducted and records reviewed, the OIG found no evidence of favoritism in the award of contracts to the sibling’s company, to include subcontracts. Additionally, there was no evidence to suggest the department employee misused their position to facilitate contracts to the sibling’s company. There was also no evidence to support the allegation that the sibling had oversight or involvement with the contract holder prior to their employment as a subcontractor on the contract. Lastly, there is no evidence to suggest TRC members were influenced in the awarding of a department contract to the sibling’s company. Based on these findings, no further action by the OIG was required, and this inquiry was categorized as administratively closed.

11/2/2018
150-18095
Grant Recipient Non-Compliance
A department manager reported to the Office of Inspector General (OIG) that a recipient under the Federal Grant Program, Section 5310, 49 United States Code 5310 was non-compliant with the grant. It was reported to the OIG that the recipient had been awarded two vehicles under this Grant Program, and upon attempts by the department to audit the recipient, the business was found to be closed, and the vehicles were missing. Law Enforcement was contacted, and after a brief investigation, advised that the business was contacted and advised that the business had been closed for some time, but they still had both vehicles. The OIG contacted the business, and the vehicles were recovered. The OIG confirmed that the recipient had not received any additional expenditures, or monies through this specific grant, or any other Section 5310 grant. Based on these findings and documentation that the vehicles had been returned to the department, no further action by the OIG was required and this inquiry was categorized as administratively closed.

11/2/2018
152-18055
Department Employee Conflict of Interest
A department management reported to the OIG concerns that a department employee in the Office of Right of Way may be providing confidential department information to a private entity. According to management, the department employee has been friends with the private entity for several years; however, certain recent incidences have raised concern that sensitive and privileged department information is being shared by the department employee. Based on interviews conducted and documents reviewed, the OIG found no evidence to support the allegation that the department employee was sharing confidential information and that their friendship with the private entity was not a conflict of interest. No further action by the OIG was required and this inquiry is categorized as administratively closed.

10/30/2018
150-18062
Conflict of Interest in Procurement Process
A department manager reported to the OIG that a department employee may have attempted to influence a Technical Review Committee (TRC) member in the selection process for a department contract. During this inquiry, it was learned the department’s policies concerning procurements do not account for uninvolved department personnel interfering, or potentially interfering, in the procurement process. While there is a general awareness of a “cone of silence,” over the TRC process, and Form 375-030-50, Conflict of Interest/Confidentiality Certification for those directly included in the procurement process, there is no written policy or procedure governing the activities of other department personnel not involved in the process. It was also found that a lack of training and communication may have contributed to the potential appearance of conflict of interest. Based on these findings, no further action by the OIG was required and this inquiry is categorized as administratively closed.

10/30/2018
150-17051
Bergeron: Alleged Fraudulent Certification
Department managers reported to the OIG an allegation that a contractor fraudulently certified to the department that they were in compliance with a department contract. It was alleged that the contract did not comply with a note in the project plans that required a specific base material to be used on a portion of the project; yet the contractor certified that all the work was performed to the contract requirements. Based on interviews conducted and documents reviewed it was determined that the project note was overlooked by all department and contracted parties involved in the project; therefore, no fraudulent intent was established. The issue was corrected through a Supplemental Agreement. Based on the findings, this investigation was categorized as disproved.

08/24/2018
150-17100
Unauthorized Repairs to Rejected Concrete Pipe Structures
A district manager notified the OIG that a plant manager at a department approved producer of concrete pipe structure (structures) was directing subordinates to make repairs to rejected structures in violation of the plant's department approved Quality Control (QC) Plan. According to the complainant, the repaired structures were going to contractors for use on department projects. It was alleged that the producer's current QC Manager did not hold the proper qualifications required by the QC Plan. Based on on-site observations by the OIG, a review of documents and OIG interviews, it could not be determined if the producer was repairing previously rejected structures and supplying them for department projects. A review of department records confirmed that the QC Manager was qualified in accordance with department specifications. During this preliminary inquiry, the OIG noted that district staff conducting periodic inspects were not complying with Department Standard Specifications (Standard Specifications), in that they were not properly documenting their QC inspections. During this inquiry, the district modified its inspection process to comply with the Standard Specification. Therefore, this case was categorized as closed.

08/24/2018
150-17147
Consultant Overbilling
A former employee of a department consultant firm reported to the OIG that the firm may have billed the department for hours never worked by the complainant. The OIG Audit Section assisted in this inquiry by conducting a review of the consultant contract, which found hours charged to the contract coincided with the information provided in the complainant. Further review determined the hours for the complainant and other consultant employees, appeared to be documented properly and justified. The OIG Investigations Section conducted interviews and reviewed records, and subsequently found no evidence to support the complainant’s allegation. Therefore, this case was categorized as closed.

08/21/2018
152-18024
District Two Employee Misconduct
An anonymous complaint was received by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) wherein the complainant reported that a Department of Transportation (department) employee may have taken department supplies and employees’ personal items without permission. It was further reported that this employee had been observed surfing the Internet for extended periods of time on non-business sites, and was believed to have used department vehicles for personal use. Based on the interviews conducted and records reviewed, the OIG found no evidence to substantiate the theft of department property or employee’s personal items by the employee. A review of records to include computer usage and Internet activity, as well as interviews conducted, disproved that the employee used their department computer to visit non-business websites for extended periods of time. However, based on a review of records, interviews of staff, and the employee’s admission, the allegation they used a state vehicle for personal use was proved.

08/15/2018
150-18045
Falsified Bid Bond Document
An Office of Maintenance (OM) employee contacted the Office of Inspector General (OIG) and reported concerns that a pre-qualified contractor may have submitted a falsified Bid Bond document for a pending Florida Department of Transportation (department) contract. It was reported that the contractor altered the dollar amount on his originally submitted Bid Bond and then resubmitted the document. The OM believed that the contractor altered the amount of the Bid Bond without the knowledge of the Surety Agency, thereby creating a falsified document. The OIG inquiry found the document did not require an actual dollar amount to be included; that the contractor was covered for a percentage of his bid amount, which was defined in the document by the Surety Agency. The OIG found no evidence to support a further substantive investigation at this time; therefore, the preliminary inquiry was closed.

07/16/2018
154-18028
Theft of Property
Department management reported to the Office of Inspector General (OIG) that department employees had been experiencing thefts of personal property and cash from their offices and from common areas. It was reported that one department employee had a department-issued Purchasing Card removed from their desk, and that attempts were made unsuccessfully to use the card at an ATM machine. Department management further reported the thefts appeared to have occurred after hours and on the weekends. The OIG conducted video surveillance, and interviewed staff, but was unsuccessful in identifying the responsible party(ies). Therefore, the preliminary inquiry was administratively closed.

07/11/2018
152-18036
Missing Automotive Digital Analyzer
A district manager contacted the Office of Inspector General (OIG) regarding the disappearance of an automotive digital analyzer belonging to the Department of Transportation (department). This equipment has a replacement value of approximately $10,000, and was last known to be in the possession of a maintenance shop supervisor who had previously taken the analyzer home for personal use. A report had been filed by the district with the local law enforcement agency (LEA). When the OIG contacted the LEA, we were advised that the case would remain open, but would be placed in a suspended status until new leads were developed, adding that there was not enough evidence or sufficient leads to categorize the supervisor as a subject in the investigation. Based on the interviews conducted with department staff and the current case status with the LEA, the OIG found no evidence to support a further substantive investigation at this time; therefore, the preliminary inquiry was closed.