Belcon Enterprises to Pay $439,500 to Settle Whistleblower Suit Over Faulty Work on Federal Building Projects
By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team
Washington, DC (March 4, 2016) – Constantine Cannon LLP is pleased to announce that its client, whistleblower Brian Emery, helped the U.S. Government recover $439,500 over allegations of faulty workmanship and the use of non-compliant materials in three federal building projects in Maine. The settlement with Belcon Enterprises, formerly known as Roof Systems of Maine, resolves a case brought initially by Mr. Emery, and later joined by the Government, which alleged that Belcon, a commercial building contractor, defrauded the government by violating contract requirements and industry standards in roofing and siding work done on behalf of the Departments of the Army and Navy, and the National Guard Bureau.
Mr. Emery was represented by Constantine Cannon attorneys Timothy McCormack and Molly Knobler, as well as veteran Maine trial lawyer James Haddow of Petruccelli, Martin & Haddow LLP of Portland, ME.
Mr. Emery, a Madison, Maine resident with more than forty years of experience as a professional roofer and owner of a small, independent roofing company, was employed as a subcontractor for Belcon. The complaint alleges that he witnessed Belcon’s systemic and deliberate use of inferior products and improper installation techniques at building projects at the Cutler Naval Radio Station, the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, and the Brunswick Army National Guard base.
In one instance, at the Cutler building project, which involved repairing a 1950’s era power plant located on the Maine coastline, Belcon allegedly substituted in materials that offered no protection from water infiltration and saltwater erosion. Similarly, at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Roof Systems substituted cheaper, weaker steel screws in place of the contract-specified brass bolts, creating significant safety and structural problems in Building 86. Finally, Roof Systems allegedly improperly modified and incorrectly installed panels at the Brunswick Army National Guard base project.
James Haddow, partner at Petruccelli, Martin & Haddow, praised Mr. Emery’s efforts to bring this fraud to light: “Belcon operated in the shadows, working on the cheap to line its pockets, at the expense of the American taxpayers and our uniformed men and women. Without Mr. Emery’s efforts and information, the structural efficiency and safety issues created by Belcon’s substandard work may have gone undetected until it was too late.”
Tim McCormack, partner at Constantine Cannon, similarly praised Mr. Emery’s character and contributions to the case: “Brian Emery has been a roofer for decades and his passion for his trade is immediately evident to everyone he meets. His depth of knowledge of the mechanics and metallurgy of roofing and siding is incredible. His expertise was essential to making this settlement happen.”
According to Molly Knobler, associate at Constantine Cannon, “Brian is a salt of the earth, stand-up guy. He did everything he could to stop this fraud. He reported the faulty work to the project manager, the company director, the company’s owner, the Army and the Navy. It was only after these reports, and because he couldn’t stomach tax dollars being wasted, that he filed suit under the False Claims Act.”
The case was brought under the provisions of the False Claims Act, which combats fraud against governmental programs. The False Claims Act is the foundation of the U.S. whistleblower system and the most widely used statute by whistleblowers to report corporate fraud and misconduct. Mr. Emery will receive 18% of the Government’s recovery in recognition of his efforts to report the fraud and the assistance he provided with the subsequent investigation.
About Constantine Cannon LLP
Constantine Cannon, with offices in New York, Washington D.C., San Francisco and London, has deep expertise in practice areas that include antitrust and complex commercial litigation, whistleblower representation, government relations, securities and e-discovery. The firm’s antitrust practice is among the largest and most well recognized in the nation. Constantine Cannon’s experience spans across multiple industries including healthcare, banking, electronic payments, insurance, high tech, telecommunications, the Internet and government contracting.
Constantine Cannon’s whistleblower lawyer practice represents whistleblowers under the False Claims Act, the Dodd-Frank Act, and the various federal and state laws that encourage industry insiders to report evidence of fraud or misconduct. The firm was one of the first in the country to bring a claim under the whistleblower provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act.
About Petruccelli, Martin & Haddow, LLP
Petruccelli, Martin & Haddow, LLP, one of Maine’s premier law firms, has been providing successful, aggressive and innovative legal representation in a wide variety of matters for over 35 years in Portland, Maine.
Founded as a general practice firm in 1980, we have been effectively representing and advocating for individual, corporate, and small business clients in matters ranging from complex litigation to estate planning, and from personal injury to land use regulation. We are experienced trial lawyers with cases in federal and state trial and appellate courts. We also regularly represent clients in administrative forums and advise clients with regard to business formation and governance, contract drafting and interpretation, real estate transactions, employment and environmental issues.
We take pride in our devotion to listening carefully to our clients’ needs and rendering sound legal advice in a cost effective and efficient manner.
To learn more about Petruccelli, Martin & Haddow, LLP, click here.