A company with an Indianapolis partner that oversaw the construction of a minor league baseball park in Massachusetts has agreed to pay nearly $2 million to settle allegations that it failed to live up to its pledge of giving a certain portion of the work on the project to women- and minority-owned businesses, the state Attorney General’s Office said.
When Gilbane/Hunt submitted its bid for the role of construction manager of Polar Park in Worcester in 2019 it promised to give 20% of the work to women- and minority-owned businesses, the attorney general’s office said in a statement Thursday.
But the company—a joint venture of Gilbane Building Co. of Providence, Rhode Island, and Aecom Hunt Construction Group Inc. of Indianapolis—misrepresented the status of such businesses on the project, did little to encourage women- and minority-owned businesses, and did not track where the project’s spending on such businesses stood in meeting its goal, the Attorney General’s Office said.
A state investigation sparked by a GBH News report found that Gilbane/Hunt violated the state’s False Claims Act and consumer protection laws, the office said.
“Construction companies in Massachusetts must live up to their promises to create opportunities for women- and minority-owned businesses on public projects,” Attorney General Maura Healey said in a statement. “If a company says that the inclusion of diverse businesses is a priority in an effort to win a public contract, we are going to ensure that they are held accountable for those representations.”
The 9,500-seat stadium in Worcester, built at a cost of about $160 million, is home to the Worcester Red Sox, the Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox.
“While the Gilbane-Hunt joint-venture team fully cooperated with this investigation, we strongly disagree with the allegations and this settlement framework does not include any admission of liability,” the company said in a statement. “The joint venture team is proud of constructing the Polar Park project and our commitment to diversity, inclusion and driving economic opportunity in the community.”
Hunt Construction Group Inc. was Indianapolis’ largest construction contractor when it was acquired in 2014 by Los Angeles-based engineering firm Aecom Technology Corp. Before the acquisition, Hunt’s local projects included Lucas Oil Stadium and the JW Marriott hotel.
Aecom Hunt remains based in Indianapolis but oversees construction projects across the country.
Of the $1.9 million settlement, Worcester will get $500,000 to be used to promote the participation of women- and minority-owned businesses in government contracting, City Manager Eric Batista said in a statement.