PennDOT moves to suspend prominent Pa. construction company from state work

Pennsylvania Politics

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (WHTM) — Glenn O. Hawbaker Construction, based in State College, has built a financial dynasty and earned billions of dollars in state contracts over the past two decades.

Last month, after pleading no contest to illegally siphoning prevailing wage benefits from its workers, the company agreed to pay $20 million in fines and serve five years probation. But the sanctions may not end there.

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Citing Hawbaker’s admission to theft, PennDOT filed suit trying to block it from bidding on work or getting contracts for three years. That is no slap on the wrist. In the fiscal year 2020-2021, PennDOT paid Hawbaker more than $135 million ($135,446,025.92 to be exact).

In a statement, Hawbaker said it will “vigorously defend our company and the livelihood of its employees against another attack on its ability to fairly compete for public projects.”

In announcing the charges against Hawbaker last month, Attorney General Josh Shapiro said he doesn’t have the power to yank contracts from so-called bad actors, but the people that do maybe should.

“We have done this in a public way so the public and those charged with making procurement decisions they’re aware of what occurred here and so they now need to go and make those decisions and they should be held accountable for those decisions going forward,” Shapiro said.

But Hawbaker insists it did not knowingly break the law and did not plead guilty. It also made prompt restitution and cooperated with the attorney general. The company made it clear it will not cooperate in losing lucrative state contracts saying “we will do everything in our power to fight this.”

Until a court decides it’s business as usual for Hawbaker. In fact, an $11 million contract for bridge work in Perry County was executed with the company just yesterday.

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