Evans Landscaping Faces Indictment For Front Company
The owner of a well known Hamilton County landscaping company is facing indictment after allegedly setting up a front company to win $2 million worth of minority contracts from the City of Cincinnati.
Doug Evans and his vice president of operations Jim Bailey could be sentenced to more than 100 years in prison if convicted on all counts. U.S. Attorney Ben Glassman says between 2008 and 2014 the front company, Ergon LLC, applied for and received more than 100 contracts for demolition and site construction.
According to Glassman, "All of this was fraudulent according to the charges in the indictment because it was not independently owned and controlled by Mr. (Korey) Jordan and it did not provide useful services. Instead everything about what Ergon did was owned and controlled and for the benefit of Evans."
According to the indictment, Evans Landscaping is not certified and does not qualify as a "small business enterprise," a "minority business enterprise,: or economically disadvantaged under the regulations set forth by federal, state, or local government programs.
Glassman says Evans also was part of Ohio's EDGE Program, established to encourage diversity growth and equity for economically disadvantaged businesses and it didn't qualify.
The attorney for Evans Landscaping, Ben Dusing, disputes the charges. He says Evans was doing a favor for a computer consultant, Korey Jordan, and loaned him money to start a minority small business.
Dusing says, eventually it had "to step in and clean up certain messes it did not cause. "It's generous and legal backing of Ergon was anything but concealed...the kind of thing one would think we would want established companies doing for minority enterprise ," according to Dusing. He says all of it was contained in publicly available documents.
Doug Evans and Jim Bailey face conspiracy and wire fraud charges.
Four other defendants have pleaded guilty and face sentencing. They are John Dietrich (former CFO), Maurice Patterson (CFO), Korey Jordan (IT consultant) and Mike Moeller (manager).