Your Tax Dollars at Work: VDOT Snow Removal Edition

VDOT snow removal. Photo credit: Reston Now.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has largely cleaned up its act from the early 2000s when construction projects routinely ran behind schedule and over budget. But this story from Inside NoVA makes one wonder if its internal controls are still up to snuff.

Five people, including two state transportation officials, pleaded guilty this week to a bribery scheme involving more than $10.3 million in snow removal contracts, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. …

Over five years, Kenneth Duane Adams, 42, of Fairfax, and Anthony Willie, 55, of Culpeper, made agreements with several owners and operators of trucking and snow removal companies seeking work during snow storms, [U.S. Attorney’s Office Joshua] Stueve said, including Rolando Pineda Moran, 46, of Alexandria, and John Williamson, 51, of Springfield.

Beginning in the late 2012 and continuing through the 2016‑2017 snow season, Willie and Adams would often meet the snow removal contractors at local restaurants, grocery stores and parking lots in Burke and Fairfax, collecting approximately $440,000 in cash bribes, Stueve said.

Adams also pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute cocaine after law enforcement recovered approximately 129 grams of cocaine and related drug paraphernalia at Adams’ residence during the execution of a search warrant. Stueve said Adams also admitted to previously distributing cocaine to others, including several of his colleagues at VDOT, and to obtaining cocaine from a relative of one of his VDOT co-workers.

It’s not clear from the story how the authorities were tipped off to the bribes and drug distribution. If VDOT’s internal auditors discovered it, well, we can infer that its internal controls are working, even if a bit belatedly. If local cops or state police uncovered the wrongdoing, then VDOT needs to take a closer look at its controls. Time for random drug tests, perhaps?

(Hat tip: Larry Gross)

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8 responses to “Your Tax Dollars at Work: VDOT Snow Removal Edition”

  1. Wow. I knew we had a white powder problem this winter — just didn’t imagine this one.

    1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
      Reed Fawell 3rd

      This recalls last weekends WSJ article “Science Tested Tips to be a Better Person” or the possible lack thereof in case of these particular VDOT public servants:

      These might include:

      1/Lack of daily on the job Moral Reminders by Superiors & peers;

      2/ Lack of worthy Roll Models and Mentors on the job and in the company, generally;

      3/ Lack of a proper Education in right behavior that induces long term Self-awareness that should be taught by our culture using long lost tools such as Shame, Exile, and Ridicule.

      To that list we might add” the possible abundance of mentors and rolls model of the worse kind in high places. I suspect DRippert might cast a wide net over many culprits.

  2. LarrytheG Avatar

    Well.. the reality is .. not everyone nor every agency … is who we hope we all should be…

    such is life….

  3. Ugh. Who knew we had a VDOT office in Burke?

    1. VDOT specializes in offices at locations you can’t get to.

      1. The thing is, in the Spring, VDOT allows the grass in the median to grow 5-ft tall before mowing here in Burke, so one would think if there was a VDOT office in Burke we would have better service. Apparently the lawn service providers are not paying the appropriate graft. I am sorry to be thinking this way.

        1. djrippert Avatar

          You sure it’s grass growing in those median strips? Sounds like the Burke office of VDOT has opened the first dispensary in Virginia in anticipation of far more liberal drug laws. Transforming median strips from cost centers to profit centers – wasn’t that one of Gov McAuliffe’s economic development plans?

  4. In Hampton Roads, where the snow hit the hardest, the lack of the non interstate cleanup is a huge problem.

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