- The Washington Times - Monday, December 8, 2003

A former superintendent for the District’s largest road paver pleaded guilty yesterday in U.S. District Court for his role in bribing D.C. highway inspectors to lie about how much asphalt the company he worked for delivered to city job sites.

Antonio C. Bras, 60, of Olney, faces five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for his role in bribing D.C. Department of Public Works officials from 1995 through 1998, according to federal prosecutors.

Bras will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar Kotelly on April 27.

Bras, a former asphalt superintendent for Fort Myer Construction Corp., admitted his guilt yesterday after prosecutors finished presenting evidence at his trial in U.S. District Court.

The guilty plea comes nine months after Fort Myer pleaded guilty in connection with a scheme by at least three road contractors to shortchange the District of asphalt.

Fort Myer agreed in April to pay $900,000 in fines, restitution and civil penalties for its role in what federal investigators dubbed “Operation Hotmix.”

Bras and other Fort Myer employees regularly paid D.C. engineers and highway inspectors bribes of between $100 and $200 each, according to prosecutors.

In exchange, the city employees would falsify job tickets to overstate how much asphalt was being delivered to various road-construction sites throughout the District.

The firm’s guilty plea prompted the D.C. Office of Contracting and Procurement to suspend Fort Myer from competing for city contracts for three years.

The presidents of two other construction firms, Granja Inc. and C & F Construction, and nine D.C. Department of Public Works officials previously pleaded guilty.

Fort Myer’s guilty plea in March prompted D.C. chief procurement officer Jacques Abadie III to rule that Fort Myer owners “participated in, knew of or had reason to know” of the bribery scheme.

However, Fort Myer officials have denied the accusation. The company blamed the crimes on “rogue employees” of a subsidiary company, District Paving.

The D.C. Council, in an 11-2 vote, later overturned Mr. Abadie’s decision.

Council members said that the suspension was too harsh and that many D.C. residents would lose their jobs if Fort Myer lost its ability to compete for government contracts.

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