Skip to comments.Empire Built On Sand. Businessman allegedly poured inferior concrete into key projects [bridges]
Posted on 07/09/2006 2:54:01 PM PDT by John Jorsett
Ricardo Ramirez seemed an unlikely success story: At 57, the former Marine Corps judo instructor had spent more than 20 years as a paving contractor and had little to show for it but a long string of lawsuits, business failures and bankruptcies.
Then, in 1998, the struggling businessman appeared to hit upon a way to make it in a new venture. Taking advantage of city and state programs designed to help minority-owned businesses, Ramirez started turning out low-priced, locally produced concrete for projects that included earthquake retrofit work on the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Bridge. By 2003, his Pacific Cement venture was supplying a third of the concrete used in San Francisco's public works projects.
Prosecutors now believe it was an empire of sand.
Ramirez built Pacific Cement on a combination of moxie, deceit and greed, prosecutors say, only to have it crumble. Left behind, they say, was a costly and potentially dangerous legacy: tons of substandard concrete built into vital public structures.
Ramirez, now 65, faces charges of grand theft and fraud for allegedly passing off inferior recycled concrete -- a cheaper material that is more prone to wear, cracks and water penetration -- as meeting higher durability standards for the Golden Gate Bridge and a Burlingame wastewater treatment plant. He has pleaded not guilty.
(Excerpt) Read more at sfgate.com ...
...and if any of his structures crumb and kill anyone, add mulitple counts of murder!
This reminds me of a situation we had in San Diego before minority set-asides in city work were abolished. One company was a Black-owned concrete supplier. When delivering for a non set-aside job, the guy charged a regular price, but when it was "Black concrete", the price went way up because he was the only game in town. Idiocy like that is illustrative of why those programs are usually a bad thing for taxpayers.
Programs which by their very nature are unethical, immoral and discriminatory.
There are supposed to be regular testing of the concrete batches that would catch the issue before the bad concrete was in place. There is way more to this issue.
I dunno about that. In the case of federal government contracting most of the work would be tied up by a few large companies if there weren't set asides that forced contracting officers to look elsewhere. Its sheer laziness most of the time. That and favors given and accepted.
"He was not a malicious guy. He didn't go into this business thinking he was going to rip people off,'' said San Francisco Supervisor Fiona Ma, who gave back $5,500 that Ramirez contributed in 2004 to her state Assembly bid after the news broke of the fraud allegations in May.
"He's a hard-working guy, just trying to survive,'' Ma said. "He takes care of his grandkids. He doesn't have an easy life."
And there you have it -- a local politician on record explaining away the fraudulent activity of a supporter. San Francisco politicians are priceless.
Exactly right. Slump tests among others are required and have to be certified when doing DOT or state work. I'm sure California is more strict than any other state regarding this. Someone was paid off.
Tell you what, if government contracting officers and COTRs got as much bribe money as you bidders believe, everybody around DC would be living in a 25,000 sq ft minimansion, on 1/2 acre, with a pool, and 2 SUVs in the drive.
This form of affirmative action racism is an affront to every hard working American.
Exactly my first thought. What the heck? Where was the general contractor oversight? Where was the city's engineer? Waaay more culpability here.
Yeah, but at least a minority got the contract!
Did you all read this article? Of course he was a malicious individual! How else do you rip off a city on such a horrendous scale, get caught for it a few times, throw the racist card, and keep doing what you've been doing?
Of course, the dopes in SF kept rehiring him, but does that really surprise anyone?
Excellent point. Here is OC, CA we had a delay on a Fwy project because when it was tested after pouring, it was found to be substandard. Like you said, there is WAY more to this than "we was dupped" which will be heard.
We actually have a situation where the engineers say "recycling" is bad? What do the enviros have to say about this? They should have the final say on whether recycled concrete aggregate can be used or not.
Next, the AG needs to investigate the inspectors office. At the very least someone was negligent, at the worse on the take. Neither should be tolerated and both should have ramifications, or else this kind of thing will happen again and again. Who inspects the inspectors?
You mean they DON'T.
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