A Cincinnati landscaping company was raided by the FBI this week for an investigation involving the abuse of state minority contracts.
Cincinnati.com reports that as early as 2011, Evans Landscaping came under scrutiny after the Ohio Department of Adminstrative Services (DAS) received reports that the company had inappropriately applied for Ohio’s Encouraging Diversity, Growth and Equity (EDGE) program and other programs intended to help minorities work in local businesses. A company employee, who wishes to remain anonymous, tipped of DAS that the company’s branch contractor, Ergon Site Construction LLC, was created in 2010 for EDGE benefits.
Ergon Site Construction LLC is a demolition company created by Evans Landscaping owner Douglas Evans in 2010. The employee informed state contracting agents that the contractor was bogus and that the person in charge of it had “no material participation in the business.”
The person the employee was referring to was Korey Jordan, who is now involved in a lawsuit with his former employer. Both parties accuse each other of not paying them for their services for public contracting work they had shared.
Before working for Evans, Jordan was in charge of his own IT consulting firm and had Evans as a client. According to Jordan’s attorney Herb Hass, he has not been contacted by law enforcement authorities.
Despite receiving word about Evans Landscaping’s malfeasance four years ago, the DAS has refused to confirm on Wednesday whether it launched an investigation into the matter or if it had passed on the information to the FBI.
The agency was willing to confirm, however, that Ergon Site Construction LLC was approved as a minority contractor from January 2011 to January 2015.
On Tuesday, FBI agents raided and searched Evans Landscaping headquarters. The FBI has not explained why it launched the search, neither to the public nor to the company itself according to its attorney Benjamin Dusing
Dusing claims that he is working with the FBI regarding the “logistical matters in connection with our cooperation with their investigation.”
The landscaping industry is one of the more prominent industries in the United States, earning $74 billion dollars every year.