6/25/2008

TxDOT Manipulates Records for Overpayments Says Source

A source inside TxDOT sent me the following information via US mail:

Manipulation of the Texas Department of Transportation records creating an overpayment on the part of the Federal Highway Administration. The act occurred in Lubbock district and was directed by the Lubbock District Engineer and Director of Transportation.

The project was designated HP428(1),referred to as the Texas Tech Parkway, off-system project designated to be funded 80% by FHWA and 20% by Texas Tech University. FHWA also provided an ancillary cap on their participation such that the University would be 100% financially responsible if said cap was exceeded. TxDOT had no financial participation. The project was let in 2003 and was completed September 2006.

An audit of the FHWA reimbursements and associated documentation will affirm that several of the project change orders were, during the course of the project, determined to be Federally non-participating (additional work not previously authorized by the contract but desired by Texas Tech University officials as added features or as a result of design errors and the responsibility of the University) only to be manipulated in the TxDOT finance system to ensure FHWA paid 80% of the cost of those changes, after the project completion. These changes were carried out by the District personnel at the direction of the District Engineer, Randy Hopmann and involved the Finance Division in Austin.

Had the University been held accountable for the reimbursement of these project costs (as agreed when they signed the 3rd party change orders) there was sure to be political pressure applied by Texas Tech Officials. Mr. Hopmann and others were trying to protect their relationship with Mike Ellicot, the TTU official overseeing the project for the University. Had TxDOT not changed the coding on those contract changes TTU would have rightfully been required to pay tens of thousands more dollars to reconcile the project. But instead TxDOT ensured TTU paid little or nothing extra and FHWA, and the tax payers picked up the tab.

Texas Tech University should be held financially accountable for these costs and TxDOT officials should be called to task for their role in perpetrating this injustice.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Uh, TTU money is also taxpayer money so does it really matter? Its all out of our pockets anyway.

Anonymous said...

Money allocation and pandering to special interests are the issues here -- professional accountability. Money spent to enhance the TTU area was subsidized money denied (e.g.) Austin's eastside which gets toll roads due to "funding shortfalls" -- accountability does matter. Misallocating funds cheats some other entitled project. Let TTU use its "own available discretionary funds" for gilding enhancements rather than cost others fundamental expenses. "Cooking books" is fraud and illegal!

Anonymous said...

TTU already gets more than its fair share of gas tax money without TxDOT diverting more money from less lucrative political entities. The elitist good old boy networks need to be held accountable for transgressions against the common good.

David Rogers said...

If these allegations are true, that looks like federal fraud.

It's not nice to fool with Uncle Sam.

Anonymous said...

It couldn't be fraud. Surely it's just a little misunderstanding. We'll be told to let the big boys handle this; after all, they know best. The rest of us should get back to our naps.

Steve said...

aren't they always crying they don't get enough federal money? why they have to toll us?