Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

$420M for bribery school bus firms

A Blue Bird Vision school bus with a propane-f...Image via Wikipedia
Nearly a dozen yellow-school-bus companies that were implicated in a federal pay-to-play bribery scheme were cleared to rake in more than $420 million in city transportation contracts by a schools policy committee yesterday.
Five bus contractors that were recently named in a federal corruption trial -- Gotham, Jofaz, Hoyt and Dak transportation companies and Rainbow Transit -- will net about $270 million in three-year contract extensions if the entire education board gives its approval this evening.
Another six companies and affiliates that city Department of Education documents say were also caught up in the massive probe by the US Attorney's Office are set to receive an additional $150 million in route extensions.

The probe, which grew out of a bid to dismantle the Genovese crime family's reputed stranglehold on the local bus-drivers union, bagged seven city school-bus officials for extorting or collecting bribes from the companies and their affiliates.
"Why would they even want to do business with companies that have proven records of corruption and bribery?" one school-bus insider asked. "What's the message here?"
But DOE officials said the companies -- which were not prosecuted for their alleged roles in the bribery schemes -- have all agreed to strict monitoring and to contracts that would save the city a significant chunk of change.
They also said the contracts were extended only after input from the US Attorney's Office.
"We've gotten agreements that across the board are better for us than the contracts that they would replace," DOE contracts chief David Ross told the education-policy committee members prior to their vote.
Officials also stressed that none of the concerns about the companies were related to the safety of their services.

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