You’re Guilty: Want a New Project?

concretepour.JPGBefore quick-set epoxy became the most controversial product used in the construction of the Big Dig, Aggregate Industries NE faced charges that it falsified records about the quality of the concrete used in the epic construction project. Today, Aggregate pleaded guilty to fraud.

“Leftover concrete on some occasions was mixed with new concrete and used on the Big Dig,” [federal prosecutor Fred M.] Wyshak said in court. “On other occasions, entire truckloads of concrete rejected as too old or having too much water was used.”

But don’t worry. This 2006 article says “U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan said while the concrete didn’t meet project standards, it was not necessarily of poor quality.” Of course, this article was written before the July 11, 2006 collapse that killed a woman, so we were a little more optimistic then.

The punishment sounds severe, as the company has to pay $50 million, with $27 million going into an endowment that will fund further repairs on the Big Dig. But Aggregate Industries agreed to the deal because the company can still bid on government jobs. So they might be able to make back that $50 mil pretty quickly. Maybe they learned its lesson, or maybe they will just be more careful about defrauding the government.

Related: Confessions of a Big Dig Worker [Boston magazine]