Gov. Tom Corbett has ordered reviews of Ciber Inc. and all other vendors named in the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission investigation, three weeks after the state indicted eight people alleging pay-to-play schemes.
One of them was Dennis Miller, a former vice-president of Greenwood Village, Colo.-based Ciber, whom a statewide investigating grand jury said was "intrinsically involved" in securing $82 million worth of contracts with the commission by using his relationship with turnpike officials to secure work and "improperly influence the contracting process."
Further, "Miller actively duplicated and created unnecessary work billed to the Turnpike, thereby significantly increasing his bonus payments and profit sharing with Ciber," the grand jury added.
Corbett said Thursday that the state's Department of Transportation will rebid its $8.6 million contract with Ciber for information technology services. Corbett, in a statement, described the contract as "recently awarded, but not fully executed.
He ordered an "integrity review" of Ciber.
"Given the disturbing allegations raised by the Turnpike investigation, we will carefully review these vendors to be certain that they meet the highest standards for ethical business operations," Corbett said in the statement.
PennDOT expects to award a new contract in about four months but expects no impact on its IT systems.
"We share the governor’s focus on ethical business operations and we intend to cooperate fully with the integrity review," Ciber vice president Robin Caputo said in a statement late Friday afternoon. "Ciber is committed to maintaining the highest standards of ethical conduct, and we remain diligent in ensuring that we comply with all applicable laws and regulations. We will work closely with the governor, the office of general counsel and the Pennsylvania attorney general in their review."
Ciber began business in 1974.
The grand jury report, formally called a presentment, also said Miller also developed a close relationship with former Turnpike chief operating officer George Hatalowich and often bragged of his rapport with former commission Chairman Mitchell Rubin and political fundraising efforts for an unnamed Philadelphia lawmaker, identified as "Senator No. 6."
State Attorney General Kathleen Kane on March 13 announced the indictments against Miller, Hatalowich, Rubin; former state Sen. Robert Mellow; four other former commission officials and employees including former Turnpike chief executive Joseph Brimmeier; and Jeffrey Suzenski, the owner of Commonwealth Consulting Services Inc. and a partial owner of Twin County Construction.
According to Kane, the grand jury found criminal acts that resulted in misuse and theft of millions of dollars of public money. Charges include conspiracy, commercial bribery, bid-rigging, theft, conflict of interest and corrupt organization violations.
Meanwhile, a separate scandal is looming at the other end of Pennsylvania. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Friday that the office of U.S. Attorney Zane Memeger from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania is investigating the Delaware River Port Authority for millions of dollars of so-called economic development spending.
The authority operates four toll bridges and the Patco commuter rail line between Philadelphia and southern New Jersey. Authority spokesman Tim Ireland declined comment Friday, but told the Inquirer that the authority would comply with the subpoena.
"We can neither confirm nor deny the existence or non-existence of investigations," said Patricia Hartman, a press officer for Memeger.
According to the report, DRPA spent nearly $500 million over 15 years to underwrite museums, sports stadiums, a concert hall, a cancer center, the Army-Navy college football game, and other non-transportation projects.
One year ago, New Jersey Comptroller Matthew Boxer, in a lengthy report, accused the DRPA of "ineffective oversight and weak policies," which led to financial waste and mismanagement. The report said the DRPA "frequently granted itself such broad discretion and operated under such vague program guidelines that almost any conceivable action or expenditure could be deemed acceptable."
The DRPA's board consists of 16 members, of which 14 appointments are evenly divided between the New Jersey and Pennsylvania governors. Pennsylvania's treasurer and auditor general serve on the board by virtue of their elected offices.