Published: Thursday, October 11, 2007
Bribery leads to time in prison
Total payout will be about
$3 million, a lawyer says.
YOUNGSTOWN A painting contractor who bribed a bridge inspector must do 21 months in prison and make restitution of more than $2 million to the Ohio Department of Transportation.
Anthony Katsourakis, 62, of Robinson Road, Campbell, was sentenced Wednesday afternoon in Cleveland federal court. U.S. District Judge Dan Aaron Polster set the restitution amount at $2,256,000 and ordered that Katsourakis serve two years' supervised release once out of prison.
Katsourakis pleaded guilty in July 2006 to bribing a bridge inspector with cash and a condominium.
Judge Polster accepted Katsourakis' plea and set sentencing for Oct. 16, 2006. The sentencing has been reset several times since then.
The case was prosecuted by Ann Rowland, an assistant U.S. attorney. Katsourakis was represented by Cleveland lawyer Gerald Gold.
In late August 2005, a federal grand jury in Cleveland indicted Katsourakis on charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States, filing fraudulent inspection reports with ODOT and bribery. His company, American Painting, was charged with conspiracy.
Katsourakis was accused of giving an on-site ODOT bridge inspector a total of $24,000 in cash payments to permit shoddy work. The painting contractor's condominium in Clearwater, Fla., was used by the inspector as another form of bribery, the government said.
The federally funded bridge projects were on Interstate 90 on the west side of Cleveland. The time frame in the indictment is May through late 2001.
The original ODOT contract was roughly $2.5 million. The work had to be redone.
Gold said after court that the painting company, which has good crews, will continue in business while Katsourakis is in prison. The lawyer said his client has a pending settlement with ODOT for three separate jobs and the total payout, including the restitution ordered by the judge, will be about $3 million in all.
"He said he's always been proud of the work he's done and made a mistake to pay the guy," Gold said. "He thought the bridge was done to best of the crews' ability."
In return for the bribes, the ODOT inspector allowed American Painting workers to paint in inclement and unacceptable weather conditions, the government said. The painting company also was allowed to omit, ignore and fail to perform certain necessary and contractually specified functions such as scraping, sanding, blasting and priming the bridge surfaces, the government said.
The ODOT inspector routinely falsified reports as to the quantity and quality of the work performed by American Painting so as to conceal the inferior services provided, the government said. The inspector was prosecuted separately.