Baltimore contractor Holabird agrees to pay $91,000 to resolve claims it bilked the city

Baltimore’s spending panel is scheduled to accept $91,746 to drop claims against an auto repair and maintenance service in Southeast Baltimore that allegedly submitted inflated bills to the city for payment.

Holabird Enterprises of Maryland Inc. has agreed to repay the money and accept the return of five unused snowplows. In exchange, the city and company will drop lawsuits against each other, according to a Board of Estimates agenda.

The board is scheduled to consider Wednesday the settlement offer from Holabird and its principals, Lawrence Ward and Daniel Foy. The agreement would also bar the company from any city contract for five years.

Reached by phone Tuesday, Ward declined to comment.

The claims against Holabird surfaced last July in a report by the Baltimore Inspector General, who found the Fleet Management Division of the Department of General Services mismanaged contracts and overpaid for services. Inspector General Isabel Mercedes Cumming said Holabird overcharged for snowplows and service work to city vehicles.

Cumming issued a second report two months later that found another company, Baltimore’s primary tow operator, was also overcharging the city. She wrote that city employees had rubber-stamped the inflated bills for years.


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Construction grinds to a halt as Msunduzi Municipality has to raise more than R100m to pay contractors for work done

By Thami Magubane Time of article published27m ago

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Durban – Work on the Integrated Rapid Public Transport Network (IRPTN) in Pietermaritzburg may be halted as the Msunduzi Municipality needs to find more than R100million to pay for work that is currently under way.

The total value of the work currently under way is valued at around R240m.

The municipality successfully applied to National Treasury for a roll-over of around R90m that had not been used and now needs to raise about R150m from its own internal funds to be able to pay for this work on the Moses Mabhida Road.

It admitted recently that between the months of August and June, the contractors had not been paid.

Last week, administrator of the municipality Scelo Duma stated the municipality was struggling financially.

The project has been plagued by extensive delays and poor spending, which has forced the National Treasury to cut its funding.

DA councillor Sibongiseni Majola said the project was key to the city and abandoning it would be disastrous.

“The municipality has committed more than R200million on this project but it does not have this money, it has to find it somewhere from its own internal budgets.

“We were lucky in that the National Treasury approved the roll-over of about R90million of the funds that had been committed, after the council wrote to them detailing why they were not able to be spent.

“That means we are now short of about R150million.

“The situation is very difficult, I always say to colleagues that if the contractors could hear the conversation we are having about the finances of the city, they would abandon that site,” he said.

Majola said it was a bad move to cancel the funding for the project by the

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How to Pay for a Home Remodel Without Tapping Your Equity

Erin Nelsen’s house could use more walls.

The certified financial planner works outside the home from an office in Cypress, California. But her husband, Shawn, works from a makeshift home office in their kitchen. From there, he hears his kids attending online school through an opening to the adjacent dining room.

To accommodate his new working conditions, Shawn taped a “sound-insulating foam barrier” in the opening, Nelsen says.

Other homeowners have used their time sheltering in place to make more permanent changes. About one-third (34%) of homeowners who have done improvements since March 1 started sooner than planned because they had more free time at home during COVID-19 social distancing measures. That’s according to a NerdWallet survey conducted online by The Harris Poll among more than 800 homeowners who have done home improvements since March 1.

Seven percent of those renovating homeowners used a home equity loan or line of credit to pay for the update.

Equity can be a low-cost resource to finance your remodel, but it takes time to build up, which may make it difficult to start a project earlier than planned. Homeowners looking for faster options can consider the following non-equity ways to pay for a remodel.

Use your own money

The most common way people have been paying for their renovations is with their own money, according to the survey.

Roughly one-third (34%) of homeowners who have made home improvements since March 1 paid for their renovations with available funds from their checking accounts or current paychecks. One quarter (25%) used money they had specifically saved for the project.

Using your savings lets you cover renovations and repairs interest-free, says New Jersey-based certified financial planner James Kinney.

That means if you don’t already have the funds to remodel your kitchen, “my approach would be for

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Hanford contractors to pay nearly $58M settlement after whistle-blowers allege massive fraud scheme

Whistleblower claims alleged fraudulent overcharges that inflated the hours of labor and billed for work that was not actually performed.

Hanford contractors involved in the long-running effort to build the site’s Waste Treatment Plant have agreed to pay a $57.75 million settlement to the U.S. Justice Department to resolve whistleblower claims of fraudulent overcharges that inflated the hours of labor and billed for work that was not actually performed.

The settlement announced Tuesday with Bechtel Corp., AECOM Energy & Construction, and an AECOM subsidiary covers work undertaken to build the Waste Treatment Plant. This construction work has soaked up many billions of federal dollars to develop a complex able to treat and stabilize hazardous chemical and radioactive wastes for long-term storage.

Back in 2016, Bechtel and subcontractor URS agreed to pay $125 million to settle allegations of subpar work and accusations of using taxpayer dollars illegally to fund a multiyear lobbying campaign.

part of the new settlement, the contractors must submit to an independent compliance review for the next three years. And in a statement released Tuesday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Washington’s Eastern District, the contractors came under harsh criticism.

“It is stunning that, for nearly a decade, Bechtel and AECOM chose to line their corporate pockets by diverting important taxpayer funds from this critically essential effort,” Joseph E. Harrington, first assistant attorney general for the Eastern District of Washington, said in the statement.

Teri L. Donaldson, the inspector general for the Department of Energy, said “Bechtel National Inc., AECOM Energy & Construction Inc. and (the AECOM subsidiary) Waste Treatment Completion Company LLC, engaged in a massive scheme to submit tens of millions of dollars of false claims to the U.S. Government for unallowable and unjustified costs over a period of years — a pattern of conduct that

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The Best Way to Pay for Home Renovations This Fall

If you’ve decided to renovate your home, you’ll need to work out how to finance the project.

Given that most of us have been sheltering in place since March, it’s no wonder that we’re in the mood to renovate our homes. The online remodeling platform Houzz reported a 58% jump in the number of contractors’ project leads this June from the year before. Contractors working in outdoor spaces saw the largest increase, as folks looked to have pools and spas installed. Homeowners also seem far more interested in decks, patios, and landscaping than they were pre-pandemic. Kitchens and baths, traditionally the most popular remodeling projects, saw a 40% increase in demand.

If you’re itching to give your place a facelift, you may wonder about the best way to pay for it. Here are six possible home renovation financing options:

1. Personal loans

Personal loans are available through online lenders, banks, and credit unions. It is not uncommon to find personal loans for as much as $100,000. If you have a strong credit score, you should qualify for today’s attractive rates and terms that suit your needs. Most personal loans are unsecured, meaning there is no collateral for the lender to repossess if you default on payments. That said, don’t agree to loan terms if you think you might default — it can destroy your credit and even land you in court. Here are some of the best renovation loans on the market right now.

2. Home equity loans

Since it’s your home that’s getting spruced up, consider a home equity loan. With a home equity loan, your home acts as collateral, meaning it can be repossessed if you fail to make payments. But that collateral also means you’re likely to score a lower interest rate. Home equity loans are distributed

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