WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – A contractor fired by Trumbull County Commissioners in October has now been charged with fraud.
Marucci and Gaffney Excavating was doing work on the Kinsman sewer expansion, but the project was plagued with problems. The county ultimately severed its contract with them. Now, the company is charged with one count of fraud in connection to the project.
The charges were filed in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court on Monday morning by Attorney Joe Cavasinni on behalf of the county. Cavasinni said the county discovered that Marucci and Gaffney submitted falsified survey data in relation to the sewer project.
Marucci and Gaffney also have a lawsuit pending against them over a project in Vienna.
Calls were made to the company’s counsel, Attorney Peter Welin, but they were not returned on Monday.
The Kinsman sewer project was supposed to be finished and running on December 2, 2014. While crews are busy fixing previous problems found in this project, they are now bracing for even more repair work.
According to the complaint filed Monday, numerous areas of “excessive standing water” were observed in the pipes after the sewer pipe installation. The problems were discovered by watching closed circuit television videos (CCTV) that Marucci and Gaffney were required to submit to the county.
Marucci and Gaffney said this was due to debris in the sewer lines and said they would be flushed. The pipes were then found to be dry, leading the county to suspect that the flushing and re-television of the sections were done in a fraudulent manner, according to the complaint.
According to the complaint, contractors hired to complete the project found a number of pipe sections fell well below the minimum slope requirement of 0.4 percent, contrary to what the as-built survey data provided by Marucci and Gaffney showed.
Slopes less than that 0.4 percent grade cause backups in the lines, since it is designed to use gravity forcing the flow downhill, making the system not functional
“Based on the actual data, there were several sections that would not have complied with the minimum slope requirements for the gravity sewer pipe, but with the falsified data it was made to look like these sections do comply,” Cavasinni said.
County officials said they don’t know yet what it will cost to fix this latest issue.