According to county officials, a commercial roofing firm is under scrutiny after news broke that the company inflated costs to fix a Baltimore County, Md.-owned building and then paid less than what a minority-owned subcontractor it partnered with would have been entitled to.
The growing scandal was first reported on June 21 by a local Fox affiliate WBFF.
The company, which county officials have not identified, won the contract after it brought on a minority-owned business as a subcontractor to win the $1.8 million bid to replace the roof of the County’s Public Safety Building.
The contract stipulated that at least 25% of the project be awarded to a minority-owned business to comply with the County’s Minority and Women's Business Enterprise, or MBE, program.
According to reports, investigators in the county’s Inspector General’s office were made aware of the problems with the contract after receiving a tip from the city of Baltimore’s Office of the Inspector General back in February 2023.
At that time, the unidentified roofing business disclosed the contract's finances to Baltimore City. After questioning some financial disclosures, city officials alerted their county peers after learning the firm had worked on the County’s Public Safety Building.
After dual investigations, City and County officials independently determined the submitted financial disclosures were falsified. The contract was first awarded to the principal roofing concern in November 2018. It is unclear what events precipitated the investigation after five years.
Baltimore County established its MBE program in 2005 to "…provide maximum opportunities for Minority Business Enterprises and Women's Business Enterprises to participate in all phases of procurement in the county, including construction, purchases of goods and services, architectural and engineering agreements, consultant contracts and other professional service agreements."
To secure the work, it was reported that the roofing firm agreed the minority-owned subcontractor would be paid $449,500, but investigators found documentation the concern allocated less than $41,000 to the subcontractor, accounting for only 2% of the contract’s total value, county officials said.
In May 2019, the roofing business filed paperwork claiming it paid the minority-owned business accordingly. In a finalized document at the end of the project, the roofing business solidified its claim by reporting it paid $449,500 to the minority-owned business in a Release of Liens document.
The Office of the Inspector General says the roofing business only paid $49,500 to the minority-owned business. The unaccounted $400,000 windfall puts the roofing concern in a precarious position. Officials say that the minority-owned business reportedly claimed no involvement with the roofing business's falsification of payments and reporting.
As this story unfolds, Roofing Contractor will keep you updated.