Two more purchasers for former Hanford contractor Fluor Hanford have reached settlement agreements for allegedly accepting kickbacks.
Both accepted gifts from Fast Pipe and Supply Inc. owned by Shane Fast, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Washington. Fast, who has been indicted, called the investigation of the gifts he gave "a witch hunt."
John Williams has agreed to pay the federal government $12,797, and Patricia Hall has agreed to pay the federal government $15,280. Williams does not admit the contentions of the U.S. Attorney's Office, and Hall denies them.
They are the fourth and fifth former Fluor Hanford material coordinators known to reach settlements on kickback allegations for incidents before Fluor's contract expired.
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Williams accepted a $100 gift card to Sportsman's Warehouse in November 2005 and another one in December 2006, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. In November 2005, he purchased $37,036 of material from Fast Pipe. In December 2006, he purchased $5,735 of material.
He also accepted tickets valued at $298.50 to a sporting event in September 2007, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. That month, he made purchases from Fast Pipe totaling $5,250.
Williams worked for Fluor Hanford as a material coordinator from January 1993 to October 2008.
Hall accepted a $100 gift certificate to Macy's from Fast Pipe in December 2006 and again in January 2008, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
In December 2006, she purchased $26,845 worth of goods from Fast Pipe for Hanford use. In January 2008, she purchased $28,937 worth of goods from Fast Pipe.
Sometime in 2007, she also accepted sporting event tickets worth about $160 and a parking pass worth about $30, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. She averaged monthly purchases from Fast Pipe that year of about $29,045.
Williams and Hall had received training on Fluor's rules, which prohibited accepting gifts from vendors worth $25 or more, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. It alleges that the gifts were an effort to improperly induce or reward favorable treatment for Fast Pipe.
Had the Department of Energy known that purchasers were accepting the gifts, it would not have approved paying for Fast Pipe purchases with federal funds, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Fast, a former congressional candidate, maintains that sales were properly made. Except in rare occasions, he would be asked for Fast Pipe's pricing then sometimes would be awarded a purchase order and sometimes not, he said.
He also disputes an allegation that anyone at Fast Pipe attempted to cover up the gifts by telling federal investigators that the material coordinators paid Fast for them. In fact, he told the DOE Office of Inspector General that he had given tickets to Hanford customers when asked and also volunteered that he also gave gift cards, he said.
He did not believe there was a problem with the practice, he said.
Fast has been indicted in Eastern Washington District U.S. Court for allegedly paying $40,000 in kickbacks to Hanford employees purchasing goods for use on the federal project.