Feds eye Western Pa. ties in Katrina investigation
A federal grand jury in Baton Rouge is investigating the bonding of two federally funded school construction contracts handled by three companies, including 84 Lumber Co. of Eighty-Four.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency contracts were for construction of South Plaquemines High School in Port Sulfur and Mildred Osborne Elementary School in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, according to a copy of a federal subpoena the Tribune-Review obtained.
The U.S. Attorney's Office in Baton Rouge said it can't confirm or deny whether there's an investigation.
FEMA awarded contracts to F.H. Paschen, S.N. Nielsen & Associates LLC, of Chicago. That company subcontracted the foundation and structural work to J&A Construction Management Resource Company Inc. of Jena, La., which hired 84 Lumber to do the work.
Jeff Nobers, a spokesman for 84 Lumber, confirmed that the government subpoenaed 84 Lumber to supply documents. The company hasn't been told it's the subject of an investigation, he said.
“We have no reason to believe we are under investigation and, obviously, they don't tell you who is,” Nobers said.
In 2012, 84 Lumber sued F.H. Paschen, seeking about $1.8 million it claims the Chicago contractor owes it for work on the school projects. F.H. Paschen filed a response saying 84 Lumber failed to carry out its contract.
Nobers declined to comment on the lawsuit.
J&A owner Addie Mills said Wednesday that she was subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury next week. She referred questions to her attorney, who couldn't be reached.
J&A made a counterclaim in the civil lawsuit and 84 Lumber invoked a clause in its contract with J&A requiring the dispute to go to arbitration.
A federal judge in New Orleans put the case on hold and ordered the companies into arbitration, which is pending.
Brian Bowling is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-325-4301 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Discretionary purchases take off as consumer confidence shows strength
- UPMC earnings turn positive, but pressures mount
- Barnes & Noble, Samsung offer co-branded tablet
- EDMC to cut costs, roll out new grant
- Energy sector powers Pa. pace
- Berkshire socked with $896K penalty
- Worker satisfaction with job security at a new high
- Target cuts annual profit outlook
- Stocks shake off Fed’s talk of stepping up interest rate hike
- Obama weighs broader move on immigration solutions
- Milk producer to ax disputed ingredient